Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

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

Ipswich Town's Teddy Bishop. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Ipswich Town midfielder Teddy Bishop has been charged with alleged multiple breaches of match betting rules, the Football Association has announced.

The Potters and Friends event at Little Hall in Lavenham. Gill Hedge (left) and Anja Penger-Onyett with their work.

An arts and crafts exhibition that raises cash to support a historic 14th-century property in Lavenham looks set to see record number of visitors.

Donald Maxwell’s colour sketch in the  1920s shows the perfect proportions of Cupola House

The former owner of a fire-damaged Grade I-listed building and a local historian are working on a publication to “preserve for future generations” the original property.

Robbie Stevens and Will Treager on the cycle journey

A pair of adventurous travelling friends have celebrated raising more than £1,000 for charity after tackling an epic cycling challenge from Beccles to Edinburgh without a single penny.

Set up of the 2015 Suffolk Show at Trinity Park, Ipswich 
Wild Earthworks, Julius McCann-King and Bean the dog

People planning to enjoy the Suffolk Show have just hours to buy discounted tickets online.

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service.

Fire fighters tackled a blaze that had engulfed an electrical sub-station in Alresford.

Five Town fans to face affray charges

Five Ipswich fans are to appear in court to face an affray charge after violence flared in a pub before Town’s game at Rotherham.

The footpath in Bury linking Cullum Road with Hardwick Lane.

Walkers have raised concerns that a footpath linking West Suffolk Hospital with the town centre in Bury St Edmunds is not wide enough to accommodate cyclists.

Emergency services at the scene of an accident near Beyton

A teenage motorist is in a ‘critical condition’ following a single vehicle crash on the A14.

The BP petrol station eastbound on the A14

The male driver of a car which crashed into a petrol station has escaped uninjured.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages