North East People

A great response from council candidates in County Durham for ACORN

ACORN is community union and grassroots social justice movement

ACORN Durham, the renters and community union, has received welcome support from local council candidates.

ACORN asked council candidates to agree to the following:

  • Increase widespread and high-quality council housing and collective ownership
  • Push for powers to implement a rent cap of 30% of the real living wage in Durham
  • Make DCC a real living wage employer & use progressive procurement to spread this standard
  • When awarding contracts to private providers, prioritise companies who pay the real living wage. This must include apprentices & outsourced workers
  • Stop illegal evictions and set up a support line for tenants being illegally evicted
  • Stop Covid-19 evictions
  • Set up support for people in arrears due to Covid-19
  • Increase funding/provision for homeless people and follow an ‘everybody in’ policy
  • Make County Durham a sanctuary county for the Gypsy, Romany, and Traveller community
  • Ensure there are no civil prosecutions of traveller communities before the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill passes
  • Oppose the use of police to remove or prevent travellers from occupying spaces in the county
  • Take every opportunity to work with the traveller community to improve the facilities available to them
  • Support to end detention
  • Campaign to stop the Hassockfield detention centre in Consett
  • Oppose any future proposals of the creation of detention centres in County Durham

All the candidates who responded agreed that housing is a human right and all people have the right to live in dignity and peace.

The following candidates have signed this pledge:

Samantha Townsend – Shildon and Dene Valley – Labour

Stuart Sutherland – Chilton – Labour & Cooperative

Owain Gardner – Weardale – Labour & Cooperative

Mark E. Appleby – Consett South Ward – Labour

Kathryn Beetham – Aycliffe North and Middridge – Labour

Andy Walker – Esh and Witton Gilbert – Labour

Emma Rowell – Barnard Castle East – Labour

David Wilson Hardaker – Barnard Castle West – Labour

Clive Hedges – Consett North – Labour

Dave Hynes – Barnard Castle West – Labour

Julie Ward, Labour & Co-operative, Evenwood

Neve Ovenden, a leading local ACORN activist, said that she was pleased that these candidates stood up to represent the real interests of their residents. She continued “at a time when the government is attempting to divide our communities against each other through the Police and Crime Bill, it is essential that our local representatives stand up and be counted.

“The North East has a proud history of standing with the persecuted – whether that be miners, steel workers or women. We have stood against fascists in Stockton, last summer Durham knelt for George Floyd. It is what our communities do. It is our history. We stand together in solidarity and we will do so again with the Gypsy, Romani and Traveller Communities.”

“We are also pleased that these candidates have stepped forward and joined us in asserting that we have a right to high quality housing. We will not put up with lousy landlords anymore.”

ACORN stands up for tenants’ rights – if you need assistance with a bad landlord, poor housing, or issues of community space then you can contact them at

Please follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, and/or support us with a regular donation