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Reporter saves woman from having to move into ‘poor quality’ housing

Laura ConderA trainee reporter saved a woman from having to move into ‘poor quality’ housing on her patch thanks to a story she had written.

Bedfordshire Live journalist Laura Conder has revealed how her work helped the woman, who was set to be moved by her local council to Luton.

Laura, pictured, had previously covered a story in which Luton Borough Council had served the owners of Shire House with an enforcement notice after the former office block was converted into flats that breached planning permission.

In the enforcement notice, the council cited “poor quality of living standards for residents” as part of its reasoning.

Laura, pictured, was subsequently contacted by the woman on Tuesday whose local authority in London wanted to move her into the block on a two-year lease.

In a Twitter thread, Laura wrote: “If she didn’t sign, they would no longer have a responsibility to house her. But she Googled and saw my article and called me.

“So I went to Luton Council and confirmed whether or not the enforcement order was in place. They confirmed it was but that the owners were appealing.

“But they informed me that they have spoken to other authorities who house people in this block and told them not to due to poor quality.”

Laura passed on her email to the woman, who was subsequently able to show it to her housing officer.

As a result, she will no longer be moved to the building.

Said Laura: “She said without my story, she would have signed a lease and been none the wiser till she got there.

“Without local journalists and local democracy reporters doing these sorts of stories, people may not know what’s going on in their community. So keep going local journos, you are making a difference.”

Laura has worked at Bedfordshire Live since September 2021, having previously studied broadcast journalism at the University of Bedfordshire and investigative journalism Leicester’s De Montfort University.

Speaking to HTFP,¬†she said: “Stories like this remind me how privileged I am to do this job.

“It didn’t take me long to email the council or talk to this lady, but I have saved her months of heartache and stress at this already difficult time.

“It really shows how important our work is even at a local level to change the lives of our readers.”