After being born in a Watford Borough Council house and then growing up on a North Watford council house estate during the Second World War, imagine my delight at reading a report in the Watford Observer with a headline of “Affordable homes to rent”. Unfortunately, my delight soon turned to despair after reading the report.

Instead of the article reporting that plans are in place for a sizeable council house estate to be built in Watford (on the scale of council house estates that were built in Watford after the Second World War), we learn that plans are in place to build the piffling amount of only 56 homes for social rent.

Although 56 homes for social rent are welcome, it does not go anywhere near fixing a local and national shortage of homes for social rent.

It was good news for council house tenants in the early 1980s, learning they could buy their council house under the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme. Unfortunately, this has led to the shortage of homes for social rent. Thousands of these former council houses are now available to rent with private landlords charging rents to young couples and families that far exceed the level of a council house rent.

The money from the sale of council houses should have been ring fenced and channelled directly back to councils to build more council houses. If the money from council house sales had been ring fenced then today’s council would not be planning to build a miserly 56 more homes for social rent.

Ernie MacKenzie

Gammons Lane, Watford