Dear Editor,

Can our elected representatives tell us why we should accept government targets for housing?

What Syston and the surrounding villages have absorbed over recent years(and worse is to come) is not natural growth but government imposed.

It is not for governments to tell us how many houses to build, but for local communities to decide when, and where, and how their local needs should be met.

Where a government could be usefully involved is in helping those many towns and cities which have whole areas of dereliction and neglect(ie Leicester Frog Island) back into use. Many councils do not seem to have the energy, the vision or the wherewithal to restore such areas. With expert help and some well designed housing and imaginative landscaping these areas could become pleasant places to live and bring up children.

At the same time as the government has made it easier for speculators to build on our green fields, Leicester calculates that it has more than five thousand empty houses(some of which have been empty for more than two years) and no doubt the county has a similar ratio of empty properties. It should also be remembered that Leicester has offered developers a supply of land at Beaumont Leys which could satisfy their need for many years to come.

Normally on such an important subject we would expect our elected representatives to have plenty to say, but unfortunately they seem to regard themselves as errand boys for their Westminster politicians. Councillors should remember that they are elected to serve the long term interests of their communities and not the short term, quick fix, needs of national politicians.

Let us hope that at the next election we will have candidates who will show some independence and stand up for their communities.

J Redfern