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More 'affordable' homes needed as well as council homes

Councils are being encouraged to build more social housing to meet that ever-rising demand. But the numbers of new homes remain stubbornly small.

Meanwhile in the general housing market there are complaints of high rents, a housing shortage, and a lack of land to build on - so many people are struggling to find anywhere to rent - let alone to buy.

Across the south east, fewer than fifteen hundred council houses were built in Kent as a whole. East Sussex and Brighton managed less than three hundred. Medway Council built almost 200. Maidstone under 200. Hastings just 19. And Lewes just 12.

Despite those dismal numbers, the Housing Minister was in the Medway Towns this afternoon. He told our reporter Tom Savvides that extra funding is being made available to build more affordable homes.

  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, February 2017

We need new houses - hundreds of thousands of them. But where are they to go?

We've voted for Brexit: but where is it going?

And The Speaker's outburst about President Trump: one senior backbencher from the South tells us many of his colleagues are "incensed"

  • Kelly Tolhurst MP - Rochester & Strood, Conservative
  • Alan Whitehead MP - Southampton Test, Labour
  • Liz Leffman - Liberal Democrat from Witney

... debate the issues of the week. And what's it like to be in the eye of the storm? Two by-election candidates give us the view from the pavement.

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Parents oppose huge housing development

It's a conflict which is going on up and down the country - the ongoing need for new housing coming up against opposition from campaign groups.

Now a huge development being proposed for north Hampshire has come under fire from parents, who say it will make walking to school unsafe for their children.

The proposal is for 700 new homes to the North-West of Fleet, in an area known as Elvetham Chase, which borders the M3 and the railway line.

Hart District Council has conducted a public consultation and received more than 600 comments on the plans so far. But parents claim the roads and infrastructure are already overloaded, and won't be able to cope. Cary Johnston has more.

Anger that one in four homes at Brighton Marina sold to second-home owners and overseas buyers

There's been anger in Brighton after it was revealed around a quarter of new homes in its Marina development have been sold to second-home owners and overseas buyers.

The city now has the third highest levels of homelessness in the country, and campaigners say the development is doing nothing to solve Brighton's housing crisis - with residents priced out.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to Living Rent campaigner David Gibson, Andrew Goodall of Brunswick Developments, and Cllr Anne Meadows of Brighton and Hove City Council.

Parents told children shouldn't play out in cul-de-sac

Children playing on bicycles outside their homes in a cul-de-sac in Sussex

Families in a cul-de-sac in Sussex have been told they could face eviction - if they let their children play outside.

Council tenants living on the Forest Row street say they're being treated like criminals following the letter from Wealden District Council. The local authority says the road is not a safe place to play and the warning was in light of a number of complaints. This is what two local residents told us.

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  1. Tom Savvides

New dementia-friendly housing opens

Life expectancy is rising with many of us living longer than past generations. So with an ageing population, pressure is mounting on councils and hospitals to provide services for the elderly. Now a fully dementia-friendly housing complex in Kent has opened. The council-run sheltered accommodation scheme is the first of its kind in Ashford. Tom Savvides talks to residents, councillor Paul Clokie and Elizabeth Taylor from Alzheimer's Society.

Former Reading jail to be sold in government u-turn

Reading Prison is to be sold to make way for new housing

It's been empty for two years, but today, in a government u-turn, it's finally been confirmed that Reading Prison is to be sold.

The Grade two listed building - has stood in the centre of the town - for almost 170 years - housing thousands of prisoners - most famously - Oscar Wilde. But back in December 2013 it was shut - as part of the Governments plan - to modernise the prison system.

Now under new proposals, Victorian jails are to be sold to make way for new housing.

The interviewees featured in Mel Bloor's report are: Cllr Tony Page from Reading Borough Council; George Osborne MP Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East.

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