COLUMN: Bacon Bits - ‘My Bill aims to transform the way we approach building houses’

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SELF-BUILD BILL

My Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Bill received its second reading unopposed in the House of Lords last week.

I am delighted that Lord Best, a Crossbench Peer who was formerly chief executive of the National Housing Federation, will be guiding this legislation through the Upper House.

I couldn’t have asked for my Bill to be in better hands and I am heartened by the warm reception my Bill is receiving across the political spectrum.

Both the housing minister and the shadow housing minister have spoken in support of the Bill in the Commons and I hope that this bipartisan approach will continue in the House of Lords.

My Bill aims to help transform the way we approach building houses, something which is long overdue.

I look forward to their Lordships’ help in securing that change.

RAIL FRANCHISE

Abellio Greater Anglia’s franchise to provide rail passenger services in East Anglia expires on October 16, 2016.

That might seem a long time away but the Department for Transport is consulting passengers and businesses now on what they want to see in the new franchise.

Rail services in our region have remained unchanged for many years and those of you who travel from Diss station will have your own views of how our rail service is performing. The end of the current franchise represents an opportunity to ensure the railway meets our modern needs.

The consultation is open now and runs until March 16, 2015.

You can find the consultation document at www.gov.uk/dft#consultations.

I have already sent in my response and I urge you to do the same.

RURAL BROADBAND

Last month, Norfolk MPs were briefed on rural broadband as part of the ‘Better Broadband for Norfolk’ project and the progress BT and Norfolk County Council have made in getting superfast broadband to rural areas.

In South Norfolk, 86 per cent of properties should have superfast broadband by 2017 but that leaves 8,103 homes unaccounted for.

Where properties cannot get a broadband speed faster than 2mbps, alternative solutions such as satellite broadband will be considered.

I will be keeping the pressure on BT and Norfolk County Council to ensure residents and businesses get the best out of this deal.

n Richard Bacon is the MP for South Norfolk