COLUMN: Richard Bacon MP - ‘Now widespread recognition our housing market does not work properly’

MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon
MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon

There is now widespread recognition that our housing market doesn’t work properly.

Young people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a place of their own. The very title of the government’s own White Paper – Fixing Our Broken Housing Market – acknowledges the problem.

I am sure we can do more in Norfolk to give local people wider housing choices. If we are going to make development into a good word, then we have to have good development

The Right to Build Task Force has been set up to implement the new Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act, which I steered through Parliament.

I am pleased to be working with the new task force as one of its ambassadors.

We want to make it easier for ordinary people – particularly younger people for whom finding adequate housing is so difficult – to get a serviced plot of land to build a house or, more probably, to have an old-fashioned local housebuilder (or modular house supplier) build exactly the house they want.

Group self-builds, housing co-operatives and new housing for affordable rents are all possible routes to a home.

Recently, I visited Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self-build housing project, which is led by the very forward-thinking Cherwell District Council, where there are 1,900 plots available. Kevin McCloud from Channel 4’s Grand Designs is a regular visitor.

I am sure we can do more in Norfolk to give local people wider housing choices. If we are going to make development into a good word, then we have to have good development.

This is more likely to happen when local people have more voice – and choice – about what gets built, where it gets built, and who has the first chance to live there.

BUSINESS CHAMPION

Do you know of a company in South Norfolk whose high standards and integrity should be celebrated?

The All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group has asked MPs to nominate a Constituency Responsible Business Champion for 2017.

I would like to nominate one of the excellent businesses in South Norfolk – and I need your help.

I want readers to help me identify companies which are doing outstanding work in my constituency. The categories include:

l Supporting local communities

l Investing in healthy workplaces

l Apprenticeships and training for all

l Promoting diversity and inclusion

l Offering work opportunities for people with disabilities.

If you believe your company fits the bill, or if you know of a firm that deserves recognition, then please do let me know by emailing richardbaconmp@parliament.uk.

SYNE QUA NON

It is always a delight when firms in my constituency do well.

Last week, I visited Syne Qua Non (SQN) in Diss, which has certainly taken success to the next level.

Based on Diss Business Park, SQN manages specialist clinical data for medical and pharmaceutical clients all over the world.

The firm has received the 2017 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for developing Syne-Clin, a system that captures clinical data using mobile devices, making clinical trials faster and speeding up development of new drugs.

The Queen’s Award is the highest accolade for business success and is welcome recognition for SQN, directors Karen Grover and Tony Rees and their team.

What makes SQN even more extraordinary is that this is their second Queen’s Award.

The firm previously received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2009 in the international trade category.

Well done SQN.