Villagers’ bid to build ‘affordable’ properties

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Parishioners are taking on the role of developer in a bid to ease the chronic shortage of affordable housing in their village.

Angmering Community Land Trust unveiled plans to build 12 homes in Mayflower Way at an exhibition on Thursday.

DM17311226a.jpg. Bid to build 12 affordable homes for Angmering villagers who cannot get on the property ladder because of rising prices. Rob Martin, Angmering Commumity Land Trust secretary. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121737008

DM17311226a.jpg. Bid to build 12 affordable homes for Angmering villagers who cannot get on the property ladder because of rising prices. Rob Martin, Angmering Commumity Land Trust secretary. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121737008

The trust hopes villagers will be able to rent the new homes at 60 per cent of the market rate – a quarter less than the typical reduction offered when developers provide affordable housing.

Using the example of a two-bedroom property in the village costing £315,000, trust secretary Rob Martin outlined the difficulties first-time buyers faced.

“You would have to be earning £60,000-£70,000 a year to afford a mortgage for just a two-bedroom property,” he said.

“It is crazy, really. We want to make that more affordable.”

Angmering Parish Council will decide on Monday whether to transfer the land to the trust for no cost.

The trust would then fund the construction of the new homes by borrowing.

The pilot scheme is expected to provide six three-bed, three two-bed and three one-bed properties.

In building its own stock, the trust would not be linked to Arun District Council’s housing waiting list. This would ensure villagers had priority.

Mr Martin said this would help meet local demand, with around 60 families already expressing an interest.

He said: “We were one of the first in Arun to do a neighbourhood plan and in the process of it coming to fruition we had conversations about the possibility of setting ourselves up to deliver the policies that the neighbourhood plan had to try to deliver.

“One of the problems was a lot of this would be down to the developers to provide and the feeling was it was unlikely to come to fruition - particularly with affordable housing and other community facilities.”

More than 100 people attended the exhibition. Mr Martin said there was ‘universal agreement’ on the trust’s vision.

Following agreement over the land, the trust intends to seek pre-planning application advice from Arun. It is encouraging villagers to attend its first annual general meeting to offer support.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 13 at Angmering Village Hall from 7pm. The trust is a separate not-for-profit body instigated by the parish council.