Coalition betrays Orchard Park people as scheme is axed

Diana Johnson MP has reacted with anger at news that Coalition Government cuts have caused the £160 million housing scheme on Hull North’s Orchard Park Estate to be axed.

Funding for the major housing regeneration scheme was announced by the previous Labour Government in July 2009, and would have meant improvements to many existing homes and new homes for rent and for sale in Orchard Park.

Since the General Election the Hull North MP has been asking Coalition ministers to state their intentions about the future of the Orchard Park Housing Scheme.

Today Hull North MP Diana Johnson and Hull City Council received notification from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) that due to the 60% cut in social housing investment in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review support is no longer available for the Orchard Park project.

Hull City Council have spent around £450,000 consulting Orchard Park residents on the scheme and recently gave approval to plans to demolish tower blocks on Orchard Park.

Diana Johnson MP said: “Axing the Orchard Park housing scheme is a betrayal of Orchard Park people by this Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition Government.

“This dire news sets the needs and aspirations of Orchard Park residents for better housing back for many years. Even if this scheme had proceeded work was not due to start until at least 2013.

“This decision is yet another Coalition kick in the teeth for Hull’s local economy, especially the construction sector, and a setback for skills training opportunities for local youngsters. It also means that around £450,000 that Hull City Council has spent in good faith on consulting local residents about improving the scheme has now been wasted.

“A survey of Orchard Park residents that I did last year showed that over 70% of its residents expected this scheme to be cut if there was a Conservative Government. Sadly they were right. What residents might not have expected is that the Lib Dems are part of the Government that is dashing their hopes.”