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Dormitory town

According to government statistics not a single ‘social rent’ home was added to Swindon’s housing stock over the last five years. Over this period less than 10 per cent of additional homes were “affordable” even by the government’s own definition. This compares to the nominal Swindon target of 30 per cent.

The decline in the number of council homes available as a result of Right to Buy and the failure to replace those sold means that more and more people are forced onto the expensive private rented sector, a quarter of which is estimated non-decent. Rents in the private sector have outpaced inflation and earnings. Between 2011 and 2018 in Swindon the rent for the cheapest lower quartile room in a shared house rose by over 30% compared to an increase in earnings of just 13.4 per cent.

As a result of the crisis of affordability in Swindon we have seen the growth of ‘beds in sheds’ and even people living in garages. Hence the housing crisis cannot be resolved simply by building more homes regardless of who they are for.

It was telling, therefore, when councillor Gary Sumner, commenting on the Eastern development, said: “Swindon is becoming a very popular place to live for people who work elsewhere, and they need good links to jobs in places such as Reading or Oxford or Bristol.”

Turning Swindon into some sort of dormitory town for commuters is madness. It will increase the road congestion and have detrimental environmental consequences.

Building homes that many local people cannot afford will simply increase the inequalities in the town. Even the cheapest lower quartile homes for sale are eight times lower quartile earnings.

The housing crisis cannot be resolved by relying on speculative market building. There has to be a shift to building for need rather than just for those who can afford to buy. Yet we have 200 less council homes than in 2012.

Large scale council house building and ending the disastrous Right to Buy policy is necessary if the national and local crisis is to be resolved. The big builders are only interested in maximising their profits.

Martin Wicks, Welcombe Avenue, Park North

Life should mean life

We must start to be harder on known and suspected terrorists.

Two brilliant young people, Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, were killed in London while dedicating their time and efforts to assist in rehabilitating terrorists.

What irony. They obviously cared about these people enough to try and help them in a meaningful way.

Was it reciprocated in any meaningful way?

Obviously not. They were killed by the man, and I use to word man very or extremely loosely.

It’s about time the courts and the whole justice system used a little common sense with the lenient sentences that they give to these evil people.

Life should mean life. They should stay in prison to the day that they die. None of this ‘let’s release them `cos they have served half the sentence’.

The Good Book says an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

And in my view it should be a life for a life.

Yes, I know it sounds barbaric. But isn’t it more barbaric when two young people are taken from us when they have spent time trying to help the very people who killed them?

What justice did these two young people get?

Yes, I know a lot will say its too extreme. But it’s even more extreme when these people who were trying help these terrorist are themselves killed by one of the people they were trying to help.

David Collins, Blake Crescent

Blame parole board

‘London Bridge is falling down, falling down...’ now takes on a sinister hue.

At first they are just statistics, then the victims’ faces appear: Young university graduates with a whole life ahead of them. Or should have been. Their young lives cruelly snuffed out, courtesy of the parole board who released the terrorist as it was felt ‘he was no longer any danger to the public’.

The greater danger to the public are these politically correct, elite liberal parole board members who open the cages and release the beasts.

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury

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