March people say over crowded housing is a concern in a national survey on immigration

March people were surveyed for their views on immigration for a national study

March people were surveyed for their views on immigration for a national study - Credit: Archant

People in March had their say on the impact of immigration on housing in Britain’s biggest public consultation on the issue.

People in March and Cambridge were chosen to take part in a survey on immigration

People in March and Cambridge were chosen to take part in a survey on immigration - Credit: Archant

Fen residents were in research groups in two very different parts of Cambridgeshire – Cambridge and March – and told how problems like over crowding and not speaking English were issues, according to new reports by the National Conversation on Immigration.

The Fens have seen rapid migration from the EU to work on farms and in food processing.

In March, poorly regulated private rental accommodation is a major issue of tension, with the large number of rental properties under multiple occupancy, mainly to migrant workers, affecting the desirability of neighbourhoods.

One person who completed the survey in March said: “You’ve got one house or a flat, but with ten times the rubbish outside and six times the number of cars,”


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In Cambridge the worries focused on landlords buying up houses to rent to students and migrant workers, and the impact on prices for young families who want to get on the property ladder.

Jill Rutter, director of strategy at British Future, said: “The conversations in Cambridge and March show how attitudes to immigration, even in the same county, can vary from place to place depending on the types of migration that people experience.

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“Yet both groups were worried that more needed to be done to address the impact of high migration on housing in their towns.

“It’s important that politicians hear what the public thinks about immigration as we shape new policy after Brexit.

“We hope more people in Cambridgeshire will share their views in our online survey and be part of that debate.”

Rosie Carter, research officer at HOPE not hate said: “What’s striking in Cambridge, March and towns across the UK is that people welcome the chance to talk about immigration and have considered views to put forward.

“It really undermines the idea that ‘we can’t talk about it’ without having a big argument or descending into prejudice.”

The March panel raised issues with integration, particularly in nearby Wisbech where it was felt there were real tensions.

Panelists praised migrant families who were making an effort to ‘join in’, while noting that many migrants lived parallel lives to their neighbours.

Getting more people to learn and speak English was seen as a key solution.

Cambridge and March are two of 24 towns and cities across the UK that have so far been part of the National Conversation on Immigration, which will visit a total of 60 locations by spring next year.

• People in the area are invited to have their say in an online survey at www.nationalconversation.org.uk. National opinion polling will also form part of a final report in 2018.

• The findings of the National Conversation feed into the Immigration Inquiry run by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

• In the recent election 26.2 per cent of Cambridge people voted Leave the EU while in March, 71.4 per cent of people voted to Leave.

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