By Steve Roulstone
I sat and watched George Clark last night in his new programme designed to get us all up in arms about the number of properties that have been boarded up and have been left standing unused during a period when we have without doubt a massive housing shortage, but affordable housing is what the market needs and Mr Clarkes programme is designed to embarrass the powers that be into working with him and allow his Company to make the properties habitable once again.
Non Political statement.
In the main Mr Clarke managed to put a programme together which did not have a political edge and in saying what I want to say about the programme, it is my intention to do the same, because my comments are purely factual and based upon both the law as it currently stands and what I believe to be the powers that are needed to assist in raising quality of housing in the UK.
DIY I really don’t think so!
The first issue barely given time in this programme was the ability that people will have to affect changes themselves as a method of keeping the cost of renovating these houses down. But in every property visited or discussed, Electrical issues mainly with re-wiring were highlighted. This of course is a job which just cannot be carried out by anybody who is not qualified (currently to Edition 17 of the IEE regulations) under Part P covering electrical installations in the home. Please Mr Clark, let’s get the facts right, and let’s also be honest, electrical, heating including Gas and window replacement are the major jobs required when renovating a house, so without consideration being given to any possible structural work, there are regulations protecting people for all such services and they cannot be ignored!
Poor quality housing.
He then went on to take us around a rented property in poor condition (Could not help but wonder if the problems were the result of a failed DIY attempt?) and a property owned by people who had left it empty because they could not afford to rent it out (despite pointing out that the major problem with both properties was bad wiring!!) Sorry but I did not understand the point of this, because both houses on the face of it appeared to be in poor condition, so other than an appeal for cheap funding any point missed me by.
Proper controls needed.
What did strike me was here was yet another issue surrounding poor quality housing which would be addressed if licensed Agents were in a position to approve the property for the market prior to anybody being allowed to either let or rent the property. You cannot disagree, again from what we were shown, that both of these houses needed work, Surely this is a role that letting Agents would both wish to adopt and are in a position to carry out with ease and professionalism.
Now far be it from me to throw a dampener on what Mr Clarke is trying to achieve here (Castle Estates joined forces with an attempt made by Prince Charles some seven years ago to resolve the same issue, which unfortunately failed) even though his own feelings about the subject seem to be the driving force, rather than any co-ordinated practical financial plan. But from the look of his web page, his own Business will be heavily involved in any solution, but the real source of the problem, which the area he covered in the first programme was created by the drive to build better housing in communities where property was emptied and or demolished, is much deeper and needs to be addressed on a much bigger format than this amicable gent will achieve, in the meantime I wish him well, providing he is realistic about what can be done under the label of DIY!