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Wednesday 24 August 2016

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Grimsby TUSC help Immingham residents in housing battle

In June, hundreds of residents living in the Washdyke estate flats in Immingham were shocked to find out that Shoreline, the housing association that North East Lincolnshire council has outsourced social housing to, had drawn up plans to empty and later demolish their town centre homes in a two-phase project.

With the 'consultation' period ending later this month, two Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) public meetings have been held to help organise a campaign, each attended by over 30 Washdyke residents.

Chairing the first meeting, the Immingham TUSC candidate in May's local elections, Dave Mitchell, stressed that TUSC wanted to ensure that residents, no matter what their personal preference for or against demolition, should receive personal assurances from Shoreline that the financial package would be without strings and residents would not be re-housed outside of their preferred area.

The TUSC guest speaker Val O'Flynn relayed her own personal experience of Shoreline Housing and explained that their demolition and dispersal policy was driven by Tory government policies and the Labour-controlled council's outsourcing and cuts.

Questions from residents ranged from a young couple who were naturally concerned about their future accommodation, to tenants who had lived in the flats for years and didn't want to move, to an elderly couple in their nineties who were happy to take Shoreline's offer of £5,000 and live with family.

At the second meeting, residents were furious that apart from the local Labour town councillor Dave Barton, no other Labour town or district councillors attended. People were also calling for Shoreline to be replaced as the social housing provider and the council to take it back in-house, and for the council to build more council houses. The mood was very much up for a fight. Towards this end, Washdyke residents are setting up a steering committee with at least one representative from each block.

At our next meeting, Shoreline are coming to explain themselves. Should be interesting!

Matt Harrison, North East Lincolnshire TUSC