MP ‘optimistic’ over funding

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Local MP Steve Barclay says he is now optimistic of securing new government funding for Fenland to tackle rogue landlords who place tenants in overcrowded housing, after a series of high level meetings with Government.

Earlier this month Mark Prisk, Minister for Housing, wrote to local authorities nationally inviting them to bid for £3 million of funding from a Ministerial Taskforce against rogue landlords. Last year this Taskforce allocated £2.6 million to local authorities to take on criminal landlords who trap vulnerable tenants in cramped and dangerous accommodation, yet Fenland failed to make any bid.

This year’s funding boost comes after Mr Barclay met Minister Mark Prisk in May to ask for targeted funding for Fenland to implement a selective licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation. His meeting has led to Fenland being cited in the official bid documentation, and a further meeting last week in Whitehall between government and Fenland officials.

Mr Barclay said: “There are real problems with anti-social behaviour linked to over-crowded housing in Fenland and I am glad this has been recognized by the Government. It builds on the two debates I have held in Parliament and a series of meetings with ministers.”

Operation Pheasant, launched after the MP secured support from the Home Secretary Theresa May, has found hundreds of over over-crowded houses in the Fenland area. Many of these host up to 20 people in cramped and substandard conditions. Local people are rightly concerned by the associated problems of anti-social behaviour, street drinking and petty crime.

“Fenland is now in a great position to bid for this money after council officers had the opportunity to come to Parliament first hand to personally explain the problems of rogue landlords to Ministers. I hope we can now secure this funding and continue our continued crackdown. A message needs to go out to those profiting illegally that the game is up,” Mr Barclay added.