National Green Party leader candidates join Norwich councillors for Earlham House campaigning
18:31 28 July 2012
The candidates hoping to become the new national leader of the Green Party were in Norwich today to collect signatures for a campaign to improve the rights of private tenants.
Norwich Green Party councillors have launched a petition calling on the government to require that local authorities use existing powers to ensure that homes are maintained to a high standard and to protect the security of private tenants when refurbishment works are carried out.
The local campaign follows an ongoing battle to support the tenants of the private flats and shops at Earlham House Shopping Centre, in Earlham Road.
In recent years the flats have been left to deteriorate by a string of private landlords and last month the new owner of the flats, Bellgold Ltd, gave 40 tenants notice to leave. Bellgold then started major refurbishment work at the flats, leaving residents to live on a building site.
Councillor Claire Stephenson, leader of the Norwich Green Party, said: “Residents deserve better accommodation than the cold, substandard flats at Earlham House. The City Council should have acted earlier to ensure they remained safe and comfortable places to live.
“There isn’t enough affordable housing in Norwich and government action is needed to ensure that everyone has a safe, warm place to live. Private tenants have few rights and the law needs to change to provide them with more protection.”
Later in the afternoon, at 5pm, the candidates attended a meeting at the Belvedere Community Centre in Belvoir Street, to answer questions from Norwich Green Party members, who will be voting in the party’s internal election from next week.
Current Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, has served as Leader for four years and is not seeking re-election but remains a Green Party MP.
The four candidates seeking to take over from her are Pippa Bartolotti, Natalie Bennett, Peter Cranie and Romayne Phoenix.
- For more about the Earlham House situation, see the links to previous stories at the top-right of this page.