It can take longer to sell a house than stay in the job as housing minister. Esther McVey is out and Christopher Pincher has moved in. The MP for Tamworth will be the 10th housing minister in 10 years, and the 19th since 1997. No one has yet nominated a town or village in his Staffordshire constituency as their Best Place to Live.
What our bricks and mortar say about the country is not pretty. The state of our housing also reflects the growing polarisation within society. As I have said before, we need the right houses built to a high standard in the right place.
We must also conserve and protect locations — and communities. Your local pride shines through in all your emails. It’s clear that you care very much about people as well as place. You have been writing in from Ham, in southwest London; Greenwich and Forest Hill, in the southeast of the capital; Felsted, in north Essex; and Hadleigh, in Suffolk, a village that has its own YouTube channel.
Nominations also include the coastal villages of Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo on the River Yealm, in south Devon, where the ferryman can take you to the pub(s). Stockbridge, on the River Test in Hampshire, gets a shout-out, as do Queen’s Park, in northwest London, Addingham, in West Yorkshire, and nearby Brighouse — again.
Sadly, some of you are underwater as a result of Storm Ciara and now Dennis. We don’t want this to knock your chances of making it to the list. Instead, this is the time to champion community spirit.
As we also reveal this weekend, leaseholders affected by the cladding scandal are pulling together to put pressure on the government. Almost 1,000 days after the Grenfell Tower fire killed 72 people, Martina Lees reports that thanks to new planning regulations, all owners of private flats are likely to need a safety certificate to move, let or remortgage.
This is one of the most important issues Pincher needs to tackle in his new job. Incidentally, he has voted against proposals for a mansion tax.