BOURNEMOUTH Borough Council's ruling Conservatives have pledged to build 200 new "affordable" homes over the next four years, but is this pledge all that it seems?

As things stand Bournemouth Borough Council will cease to exist in its current form within a year, and there is certainly no guarantee that the Conservative one-party state that exists in Bournemouth will persist after next year's elections to the new authority.

Setting aside the various interpretations of the term "affordable home", it occurs to me that this pledge is either little more than a cynical "headline grabber" with one eye firmly fixed on next year's elections, or it is an attempt to tie the hands of the future authority for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Essentially it is an unenforceable pledge with no consequences for failure, as decisions on what will be built (and where) after May 2019 will be a matter for the new authority.

For over a decade Bournemouth's Tories have singularly failed to deliver the homes we need. Cllr John Beesley's insistence that housing would be his "number one priority" has proven to be no more than empty rhetoric since 2007 when his party took control of the town.

What possible faith can we have in such a pledge from an authority that is set for extinction and has a track record of indifference towards its duty to provide homes? I would urge Bournemouth voters to take this pledge with a hefty dose of salt.


Liberal Democrats' parliamentary spokesman for Bournemouth West