A MOTION calling on Carlisle City Council to start building its own homes has been rejected.

Labour councillor Ruth Alcroft made the call in a motion, arguing that the city was gripped by a housing crisis, with not enough affordable homes being built to meet demand.

The authority’s old housing stock was transferred to social landlord Riverside in 2002.

But her motion was defeated following a heated debate in the Civic Centre.

Mrs Alcroft, a councillor for Denton Holme and Morton South who will contest Carlisle for Labour at the next general election, said: “Since the 1980s, millions of council houses have been sold off through Right to Buy - without being replaced.

“The result? More than one million people across the country are on council house waiting lists.

“Our country desperately needs new council houses to be built – and built in great numbers. Our country needs council houses built to better standards so our housing stock will better stand the test of time.

“As a nation we all need to care about our council housing system – by breaking down stigma and rebuilding pride in our council housing communities.”

The motion called on the council to “look into the benefits, social value and business case for new council house provision and report back its conclusions and any recommendations to full council”.

Green councillor for Belah and Kingmoor, Helen Davidson, spoke of a woman who contacted her with concerns about council housing.

“She has now been on a waiting list for a year or more, waiting for a house,” she said. “She has a two-bedroom house but she needs a three-bedroom house. To do that she has to jump through so many hoops.

“She has one child who has ADHD, the other is almost diagnosed with autism. They can’t sleep in the same room. All she wants is a safe house for her children.”

Dr Davidson added: “We need a different solution. Building more social housing and affordable housing isn’t working. I want to move back to council housing. I support this motion.”

Speaking against the motion, Tory councillor for Stanwix and Houghton Liz Mallinson said she remembered the days of council housing under Labour governments, saying the housing stock was sitting empty and in a state of disrepair.

“We need to look at how many affordable houses we have. In Longtown there is a developer who is building affordable housing - every single one is affordable. That is how the market is going. What people want is good quality housing, which is what they have got there.”