11 September 2018

There are probably lots of things you’ve heard about Hull. But have you heard what a great place it is to live? Emma Hardy MP explains why.

There are probably lots of things you’ve heard about Hull. You may have heard about our cream phone boxes. Or you may know that it’s the birthplace of William Wilberforce. You may have heard about our proud fishing heritage. Or know that it was recently the Capital of Culture and hosted the prestigious Turner Prize. You may have heard about how we started the Civil War by not allowing the King to enter our great city. But have you heard about what a great place it is to live?

Hull has a proud history that runs through our city for everyone to see. I’m not just talking about the cream phone boxes or historic buildings. The murals dotted throughout our community are an example of local people taking ownership of our public spaces to tell our city’s proud story.

Of course, Hull does have its challenges. Austerity has had a huge impact on our communities but, as our history shows, we have always been able to change and adapt. We are working hard to make sure Hull remains a great place to live.

Mural showing the 'headscarf revolutionaries', a group of women who fought to improve the safety of fishermen following the triple trawler disaster of 1968, Hessle Road, Hull

So how do we do this?

The local council has taken an active role, directly intervening to regenerate large parts of our city. Even though many of the homes in these areas were privately owned, the council recognised the importance of improving them, and secured funding to make this possible.

Building good quality, genuinely affordable homes is a key part of making places great. Housing associations and the council have been working together in partnership to build new homes and improve local areas for residents, turning places with a high number of empty homes back into communities.

The Government has committed to raising new build targets to 300,000 a year. Despite a difficult local market because of high build costs associated with flood risk and a low average income, Hull is more than playing its part.

Last year, against a planning target of 620 new homes, we built 1,522, 66% of which were built with active participation from the council. National Housing Federation members also played a key role – Pickering and Ferens, Together, Home Group and Riverside were all great partners.

Great places aren’t just those that build great new homes though – they’re places that look beyond bricks and mortar to understand the real needs of the people that live in those homes, regardless of tenure. Improving the life chances of local residents is our real motivation in providing great homes. In Hull, we were immensely proud that the CIH recognised our efforts to make this ambition a reality by naming the council as Strategic Housing Authority of the Year in 2018.

It is vital that communities are involved in creating and sustaining changes in a place. For example, the residents of Tyne Street, Ribble Street and Dee Street have played a vital role in the regeneration of their streets. When the building company responsible for the regeneration went bust, leaving the work unfinished, the residents worked hard to ensure it was completed. Now, they are committed to making sure their area remains clean, and look out for each other.

Local businesses also make a significant contribution. They continue to invest in nurturing local talent, creating new opportunities for our young people. They also recognise their commitment to our town, helping regenerate the Fruit Market, creating new homes, shops and restaurants for residents.

There are of course things that still need to change, like better transport links to other cities. But, thanks to the support of the local council, housing associations, local businesses and our residents, we can proudly say that Hull is a great place to live.

Emma Hardy MP

Emma Hardy is the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle

Making Hull a great place to live