Cecil Norris House development a start, but Shoreham needs more social housing and civic centre site could help

Sue Johnston (letters, last week) is quite right to take Adur council to task for putting the civic centre site up for sale to private developers.

I agree with her that it should be kept in public ownership so that a significant amount of social housing could be included in the development mix.

The Adur Civic Centre was demolished in 2017

The Adur Civic Centre was demolished in 2017

| Read Sue’s letter – Shoreham’s Adur Civic Centre site could ease housing crisis |

The council proudly announces the redevelopment of Cecil Norris House as the first council housing project for 30 years, but that’s only 15 flats, replacing accommodation that was already used by people with housing need.

It hardly cuts the mustard given the size of the housing crisis. Far more could be done with imaginative use of the civic centre site.

And don’t let us take any comfort from the inevitable inclusion of ‘affordable’ residential units in any development put forward by commercial developers.

It is routine for them to include a percentage of housing with an ill-defined ‘affordable’ tag, and then, after securing planning consent, dramatically reduce the allocation anyway on the grounds that it is no longer viable (i.e., doesn’t produce enough profit).

The realistic way to solve the housing crisis is to provide truly social housing in public ownership.

As Sue says, Adur is throwing away a good opportunity for this by flogging off an ideal site.

The council began with good intentions by trying to enter partnerships with developers for a joint project that would protect the public interest, but the talks broke down. It would be very interesting to know why.

And why it is now felt that the only option left is to give up control by putting the ‘for sale’ notices up.

Ray Chandler

The Drive, Shoreham

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Inside the £1.5m townhouse in Chichester’s West Pallant which has gone on the market

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