"Home is the bedrock": West Yorkshire’s first mayor Tracy Brabin stars in new podcast episode

West Yorkshire’s first mayor Tracy Brabin stars in a new podcast episode to reinforce her pledge to build 5,000 affordable homes and address the climate emergency.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 5:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 5:10 pm

The former Batley and Spen MP joined Yorkshire Housing’s Chief Executive Nick Atkin for a special episode of their Raising the Roof podcast series.

Helen Lennon, Chief Executive at Connect Housing and Chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership, also appears as a guest in the episode.

In the podcast, Tracy said West Yorkshire has had it tougher over the past 18 months than other communities.

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Tracy Brabin became the first female Metro Mayor when she was elected Mayor of West Yorkshire in May this year. Picture: Simon Hulme

She said: "I would like life to be easier for those who find life hard. Whether that’s being able to get a warm and safe home to live in or being able to get the bus home in time to pick up your kids.

“I’m hoping West Yorkshire is the go-to place when choosing where to live and work.”

Speaking about her own housing story, Tracy touched upon the importance of having a safe and secure home.

She said: “We [as politicians] take our own life experiences into politics.

“[Growing up] my dad was a salesman, so permanently in and out of work.

"[It got to the point where we] couldn’t pay the mortgage so my mum handed in the keys, and we were effectively homeless so threw ourselves at the mercy of the council.

“We got a two-bedroom flat in Birstall and that gave us a secure home and we didn’t have to worry about where we’d put our heads that night.

“A secure home is the bedrock for everything.

"The right housing at the right price and in the right place”.

The West Yorkshire Housing Partnership (WYHP) will play a pivotal role in supporting Tracy’s manifesto pledge to build 5,000 affordable homes and address the climate emergency.

Speaking about the role of the WYHP, Helen Lennon said:“There’s 13 of us in the partnership. We’re very diverse and all operate as not for profit, so the money we make is put back into homes and communities.

"We have quite a lot of capacity to help deliver those 5,000 homes”.

However, the Chair of the WYHP talked about the need to navigate some of the obstacles that are preventing new homes being built: "The key thing is that we all work together with the right people.

"Homes England, the combined authorities and local authorities to overcome some of the barriers [to building new affordable homes].

“Yorkshire has a lot of fantastic heritage, but that makes it quite expensive to build in those areas, especially [when it comes to] regeneration”.

One of Tracy’s key manifesto pledges is to address the climate emergency, something that is also a key ambition of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership.

Helen Lennon said: “We [the partnership] have 170,000 properties between us, so working together we can do our bit to tackle the climate emergency and create new jobs and skills in the region.

“The partnership has already started working with Tracy to look at a joint bid to bring investment into the region [to help with decarbonising homes].

Find out more and listen to Housing and me: A Mayor’s view on podcast platforms.