Tuesday, 6 August 2013



The boss of Google is looking for a place to live in London. Within his budget, you understand. The budget is £30 million, according to a Press report.

Three  hundred miles away in Carlisle, the prospects for a new home are much less rosy-  just about 30 million times less rosy- for several hundred people at the other end of the wealth scale. These people also want a home. But they have no budget.

The Google boss, the chairman Mr Eric Schmidt,  is a billionaire. The Carlisle home-seekers-   bachelors, widows, newly-divorced and pensioners - will never be able to buy even  the cheapest house. And they are forced to live alone.

Mr Schmidt, head of the world`s biggest search engine, is searching for a mansion in upmarket Chelsea or Holland Park. Helping him in his search is a friend of Prince William, Thomas Van Straubenzee, a  partner  in a well-connected London estate agency.

The Carlisle home-seekers have no Royal friends. Their “friend” is based 100 miles away in Liverpool where the big Carlisle decisions are made. The “friend” is the giant Riverside Housing Association which owns 50,000 properties, 6,000 of them in Carlisle.

The Carlisle home-seekers rely on Riverside -   and just about only on Riverside - to get them a home.

Sadly, Riverside cannot help with new  single-bedroom homes the home-seekers want. Riverside has stopped building homes for single people and for several years has been demolishing single homes.

Instead, Riverside is  building two and three-bedroom houses.These houses  apparently are more profitable.

Many of the Carlisle single home-seekers were among 400 concerned people who signed a petition urging Riverside to change its policy. They want to halt the demolition of 18 one-bedroom flats in Borland Avenue, Botcherby and replacing them with eleven “more profitable”  two and three bedroom  homes

And they want open democratic discussions about Riverside`s unpopular policies. Not decisions made without proper consultation.

Down in London, Mr Schmidt`s Royal-friendly “search engine”  continued to download suggestions for the £30 million mansion he wants to buy.

Here in Carlisle, the Borland Avenue petition was turned down. And contractors started to knock down the 18 flats.

Community Voice, Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation. Information about the Federation is contained in the first blog , dated March 25 2013

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