Residents claim a ‘betrayal’ over new Portsmouth council homes’ tenants

LAUNCH Pompey footballers Jason Pearce, Joel Ward, Richardo Rocha and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Cheryl Buggy at the opening of new homes in Henrietta Place, Somers Town.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (113327-775)
LAUNCH Pompey footballers Jason Pearce, Joel Ward, Richardo Rocha and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Cheryl Buggy at the opening of new homes in Henrietta Place, Somers Town. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113327-775)
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ANGRY residents say they feel betrayed after they were ‘not considered’ to move into new council-owned housing in Portsmouth.

More than 20 people from Somers Town met Portsmouth City Council officers and the council’s leader for housing, Cllr Steve Wylie, to express their concerns that the ‘wrong people’ were set to move into seven homes at Warwick Crescent, Somers Town.

They claim other people have greater need of extra space, and should have been prioritised to move into one of the three and four-bedroom homes.

The News was not allowed to attend the meeting but spoke to residents about their concerns.

Josie Reeve, of Waterloo Street, said: ‘We feel a bit betrayed. We have been waiting for 11 or 12 years for this housing.

‘We were always told it would go to Somers Town residents who were in need.

‘We’re not saying the people moving there don’t need it, just that there are others who have greater need.

‘We were at the meeting today because some of us really need to move, for more space. I don’t need to. I’m here to support other people.’

At the meeting, at Somers Town adventure playground, the council’s officers and Cllr Wylie explained that the people who were given priority were those who are at the top of the council’s housing priority waiting list.

But Ms Reeve said: ‘How can that be the case? Some of these people moving into these three-bedroom houses have just two children. There are plenty of other people with more children, and greater need of more space.’

The homes, which have been named Henrietta Place, were officially opened earlier this month.

They are the first new council-owned houses in Portsmouth for more than 10 years.

Families, including some who currently live in one-bedroom flats, are set to move into the houses by October 15.

Ms Reeve said: ‘It’s nothing against anyone who got a house. We’re sure they need them, too. But there seems to be no fairness here.’

Cllr Wylie said: ‘We explained to them we followed housing priority policies when deciding who should move in. We deliberately bent the rules, because we wanted these homes to go to people who already lived in Somers Town, rather than to those at the top of the list for the whole city.

‘We have taken on board the comments made and the issues raised and we will work with the residents to make sure we can help them.’