Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Army housing slammed by wife and MP

06:00 16 June 2011

Appalled: Lib Dem MP Bob Russell

Appalled: Lib Dem MP Bob Russell

Archant

ARMY housing in Colchester has been described as ‘the worst in the country’ by the wife of a Colchester soldier.

shares

In a letter read out in the House of Commons by the town’s MP Bob Russell, the un-named wife says the married quarters in Colchester’s Merville Barracks were the worst she had ever lived in and the system in place to rectify faults was ‘laughable.’

The wife, who has been married to a soldier for 20 years and lived in various houses during that period, said: “The direct line puts you through to a call centre in Liverpool, to talk to someone who has no idea of the conditions you live in or the stresses you endure while your husband’s away. They will then expect you to take a day off work so a tradesman can turn up, and it’s then a lottery as to the standard of the repair.”

Speaking on Tuesday evening, the Lib Dem MP said the state of Army housing was a ‘national disgrace’ and urged the government to find the money needed to modernise Army housing as MPs debated the Armed Forces Bill.

The wife added: “We’ve given up complaining to the Defence Housing Executive, as all we get are curt replies from staff who seemingly have never served or been married to a serving member. It is apparent they have never seen inside the properties.”

Mr Russell went on to point out the vast difference in quality between family housing and single people’s accommodation for Army personnel in Colchester.

“When it comes to the accommodation of our military personnel, successive Governments have failed. The last Conservative and Labour Governments failed. When it comes to single people’s accommodation, Merville Barracks in Colchester is the best to be found anywhere in the country – but that only sharpens the contrast with the unacceptable housing for married families,” Mr Russell said.

He also asked why the government was able to find money to improve former Army housing for civilian families and not for Army families as well.

In response, Defence Minister Andrew Robathan, said: “I take on board Mr Russell’s serious concerns about housing, which is an on-going problem that we wish to improve. We inherited a bad situation.”

But on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the MOD defended Army family housing in Colchester saying the majority met top standards: “Our Armed Forces and their families deserve a good standard of accommodation. The MOD recently invested £8 million in fully upgrading over 135 Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in Colchester. We continue to provide a comprehensive maintenance service to ensure that military homes are maintained to an appropriate standard.

“Of the 953 SFA properties at Colchester, 876 are currently at the top two Standards for Condition. In addition, 106 properties are also scheduled for minor improvements this year as part of our Asset Replacement Programme.

In another warning issued by Mr Russell, the MP also claims that nearby schools where Army personnel send their children will not have enough space once 100 former Army houses are occupied by civilian families.

shares

1 comment

  • Is the problem that you are not allowed to do your own repairs or improvements? I don't know.

    Report this comment

    sue douglas

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mark Bee and his deputy Lisa Chambers at Endeavour House in Ipswich after they saw off last year's challenge to their leadership.

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee is to step down after four years in the role.

Suffolk has an ageing population - but can we cope?

Dramatic increases in the average age of people in Suffolk have been highlighted in a report which reveals that in some areas nearly one in 10 are expected to be aged 85 or over in the next two decades.

Damage to overhead wires between Diss and Stowmarket - photo courtesy of Greater Anglia

Rail users face an afternoon and evening of severe delays on routes between Norwich and London, after high winds caused damage to overhead power lines between Stowmarket and Diss.

A large tree has smashed into electricity cables after heavy winds in Great Barton.

Strong winds early today have brought down trees and power lines around the county, causing disruption for morning travellers.

Disused frontage at Severalls Hospital.

Trespassers on a derelict hospital site have been warned they will be prosecuted.

Ipswich Crown Court

An Ipswich woman accused of throwing a plate at her brother’s head during a violent row on their mother’s birthday has been cleared of assault by a jury.

Abbey Gardens - are you proud of Suffolk's green spaces?

Welcome to Suffolk Says – your opportunity to give your views on a range of important issues in our county.

Fears over future of probation service in Suffolk and elsewhere in East Anglia

Criminals jailed for up to a year could be supervised over the phone and use kiosks to report to the probation service electronically once they are released back in the community.

Gorseland Primary School, Ipswich.

Parents are “delighted” after they were told eight support centres for children with additional needs were granted a stay of execution.

Shining Lights awards at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Becki Nunn, Amber Rout, Kelly Bugg.

Healthcare staff who have helped to make a real difference to patients and their families over the last 12 months have been celebrated at the annual Shining Lights awards.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages