I still have happy memories of childhood flat - Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

She remembers it as a modest home with a serving hatch leading through from the kitchen to the living room and a cupboard in her bedroom that still gives her nightmares to this day.

But Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds said she was happy to take a trip down memory lane as she returned to the council flat in Walsall where she lived with her mother as a young child.

Labour's Shadow Housing Minister is now more akin to treading the corridors of power rather than the concrete staircase in the flats in Spout Lane, Caldmore, which she used to climb as a toddler but she went back to have a look around after the block was given a revamp.

"The stairs leading up to the flat have always stuck in my memory," she said.

"They have not really changed but the place itself could not be more different.

"We were only there for a short time but my experiences there have certainly influenced my career in a positive way.

The 36-year-old moved into the flat with her mother in 1981 after the break-up of her parents and lived there for almost five years before moving to Wolverhampton.

"They were difficult days but my mom was thrown a lifeline by Walsall Council when they offered her the flat," she said.


"It gave us a place to live and I still have many happy memories of my life there.

"I can remember my fifth birthday party and of course leaving the flat for my first day of school, although admittedly that was a little upsetting! It was amusing going into my old bedroom.

"I used to have a cupboard in there that I was scared of and wouldn't go near if I could help it. It still gives me nightmares!"

Ms Reynolds was visiting her childhood home to officially open Walsall Housing Group's new eight-home social housing development on the site.


"I think they've done a fantastic job with the place.

"We had no central heating but they have fitted a nice fire where our old storage heater used to be.

"And it is good to see the old rectangle storage hatch leading from the kitchen to the living room has also been blocked off.

"To be honest I had no idea the place would still be standing and it's amazing to see how much the place has changed."

Ms Reynolds said her childhood memories of the flat had helped to shape her views about what she described as one of the key issues facing Britain today.

"Council housing and social housing play a vital role in our society and I was shocked when the Tory-led Government cut the affordable homes programme by 60 per cent in 2010," she said.

"Investment in affordable housing will be a key priority for the next Labour government.

"We want to make housing more accessible for all."

As part of this policy Ms Reynolds said she wants to see local authorities sell off unused or derelict land to people who want to build their own homes, specifically young people who are yet to get a foot on the housing ladder.

This would include offering people the chance to go on a waiting list to build on land highlighted for development.

"Wolverhampton has been particularly good in terms of getting development moving, but there are still sites which could be used for housing.

"It is a nationwide problem which particularly affects people in their 20s and 30s who want to own a home but can't raise a deposit.

"We want to give those people a voice and in turn the opportunity to have their own property."

Ms Reynolds gave a speech to the Home Builders Federation today in which she called for a contract between developers and the government to drastically increase the number of apprentices in the UK.

"If we are going to increase the number of developments taking place then the industry needs gearing up. We are looking to double the number of new houses being built to 200,000 a year by 2020. For that to happen we need to create an additional 230,000 jobs in the construction industry.

"We want those jobs to go to our people rather than relying on importing workers.

"Increase in the number of young people being trained as building apprentices, but we are also looking at the idea of training former service personnel as construction workers."

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