The following letter from Karen Barratt was printed in the Hampshire Chronicle on Thursday, 9th March.
“Winchester Labour Party members have been out on the streets campaigning on a number of issues over recent months (NHS, child poverty) but time and again housing comes up as the major local concern. It's also significant that so many of your paper's reports relate to arguments about planning issues and housing developments. As a former member of WCC's Planning Committee I came to the conclusion long ago that leaving provision of truly affordable housing and infrastructure up to the private sector does not work. Developers are in business to make profits and are adept at finding ways to avoid including social housing or contributing anything other than paltry sums in mitigation for non-provision. It comes as no surprise to find Cala giving priority to building houses for sale at Barton Farm (letters 2 March). Developers are also assisted by Government legislation which enables them to apply retrospectively for amendments to planning conditions on spurious viability grounds. I grew up on a council estate in Southampton. Massive public investment in housing was a response to the dire post war situation. The housing situation is dire again and once again it's the Labour Party which is committed to building houses for rent that the young and low paid can actually afford, not luxury dwellings for sale to a wealthy elite or adding to the property portfolios of private landlords”.