Kevin Madge, the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, will head to “an historic meeting” with Welsh Government officials later this month in buoyant mood as the authority looks to cement its plans for a decade-long programme of social housing construction.
Carmarthenshire is the only authority in Wales to have built authority-owned homes in the past quarter of a century and Councillor Madge, who grew up in a council house, is set to lay out an ambitious social building programme once national housing budgets are confirmed by Cardiff Bay.
“This is one of the most exciting times in my political career,” Cllr Madge, who has championed the building of authority-own homes throughout his time in office, told the Guardian.
“I have always been proud of the fact that I grew up in a local authority property. I am proud of my roots.
“Council housing made a huge difference to people’s lives – including my own – in terms of people’s health, community and civic pride.
“One of the most depressing things I have seen in recent years is the number of young people who have been unable to make a home for themselves because properties have not been available.
“The sale of local authority housing in the 1980s took away the first rung of the ladder for young families and made it impossible for people to start out in life.
“We are going to replace that first step for them.”
Carmarthenshire has recently built new authority homes for the elderly in Llanelli and Kidwelly, and Cllr Madge has vowed that those schemes are just the beginning.
“This is part of a ten-year programme,” he said.
“We have started with bungalows for the elderly in Llanelli and Kidwelly but we will be looking to increase that across the county, including in the Amman Valley.
“We are also looking to build not just bungalows but two and three-bedroomed homes for families.
“I am proud of the fact that Carmarthenshire is already so far ahead of everyone else.
“We have already modernised every authority-owned home in the county and we are the only Welsh authority to have built new homes in more than 25 years. We will continue building year-on-year.
“Once we have negotiated the Housing Revenue budget we will know exactly how much we have to spend and then we can begin planning the next ten years.
“This is something so close to my heart – it is the reason I became involved in politics.”
Cllr Madge will head to Cardiff Bay on May 16 looking to lay the foundation for a generation of authority house building.