Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 13°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

Lord Deben John Gummer, Christine Block, from Deben Estuary Partnership, Karen Thomas, from Water Management Alliance, Graham Henderson, from DEP, Simon Amstutz, from AONB, Therese Coffey MP, David Kemp from the Environment Agency, and Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Andy Smith gathered to launch the Deben Estuary Plan.

Three years of work have created a new community-led blueprint to protect and manage one of Suffolk’s treasures, the River Deben estuary

Detectives investigating a burglary at a home in Colchester have issued an efit of a man they would like to identify in connection with the incident.

Age UK is looking for volunteers to take part in a video

Bosses at Age UK Suffolk are looking for 10 older people to take part in a new promotional video that is being made to show off the work of the charity.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

Rail delays at Colchester have been caused by a broken down train.

Rendlesham Care Centre rated ‘good’ by CQC (L-R) Danielle Brown, Administrator; Liz Slight, Home Manager; Maxine Crisp, Carer; Fabian Lossa, Carer; Rachael Last, Receptionist

Rendlesham Care Centre was found to provide a safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led service according to the CQC report.

A diversion has been put in place

Severe traffic delays in Chelmsford have been caused by a traffic collision.

Woodbridge Carnival fireworks 2015.

People in an east Suffolk town are being asked to vote with their cash if they want a fireworks display next year.

Station Hill in Bury St Edmunds, which is being redeveloped.

Plans for more than 100 flats near the train station in Bury St Edmunds - an area of the town that is earmarked for regeneration - have been recommended to be refused.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey (centre) with members of her team and Fern Howard (left) from the Alzheimer’s Society

It follows a visit by the Alzheimer’s Society, who run the Dementia Friends scheme, to help Dr Coffey and her staff understand the effect of dementia on everyday lives.

Lifeboat

Coastguard services were called to rescue a teenager in Corton, near Lowestoft yesterday evening.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages