Communities Secretary Eric Pickles praises £12m development in Portsmouth

Portsmouth Conservative Group Leader Donna Jones with Eric Pickles ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (1473-5053)
Portsmouth Conservative Group Leader Donna Jones with Eric Pickles ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (1473-5053)
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MORE council houses are being built in Portsmouth than at any time since the end of the Second World War.

Now, communities secretary Eric Pickles has come to see some of the work being done by the city council to boost families.

Mr Pickles stopped by at a new block of 10 homes with three bedrooms at Invincible Terrace, in Winston Churchill Avenue, yesterday and spoke to one of the tenants.

Praising the development, Mr Pickles said: ‘It’s really good that it’s right in the centre.

‘The householder was telling me that he saw the construction going up without realising that eventually he would become a tenant here.

‘Figures recently produced show that we are building more council homes in the last four years of coalition than Labour did in the last 13 years of office.’

A block of 12, two-bedroom flats have been built at nearby Ark Royal House and there’s a mix of three and four-bedroom homes at Henrietta Place.

More council properties are 
due to be built in other parts of the city.

Beforehand, Mr Pickles was given a tour of Somers Town’s new community hub – called Somers Town Central – because more than 100 new council homes are due to be built nearby as part of the project.

As previously reported, the £12m development is due for completion this summer.

Kevin Hudson, the council’s housing development manager, said it was great to see a senior government official giving his seal of approval.

‘It’s fantastic,’ he said.

‘It shows that Portsmouth is on the map for regeneration. There is a lot going on.’

Mr Pickles’ visit – which was arranged by Flick Drummond, the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South – also gave him the chance to plug the government’s right to buy housing scheme.

About 50 families in Portsmouth have bought their homes from the council in the last 12 months.

Mr Pickles said: ‘It’s important to give people an opportunity to own their own home and make a difference to their lives.

‘That’s why we have increased discounts.’

Councillor Donna Jones, Portsmouth’s Conservative group leader, said: ‘I am delighted that in excess of 50 Portsmouth families have taken advantage of the scheme.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council, said: ‘It’s always good to get ministers out of their offices seeing reality.’