LETTER: Homes won’t help the 800

I see that Southern Housing’s Free Wharf passed planning on January 22, for 540 homes. Its allocation within the Adur Local Plan (ALP) was for approximately 260 dwellings. Therefore we see an increase of 280 dwellings.

At the Full Committee meeting (which passed the ALP) there were a number of Conservative councillors reassuring residents that they would scrutinise individual developments for infrastructure needs as well as stating how fortunate residents were (upon protest of infrastructure, flooding, air quality issues) that the Planning Inspector had been content with a reduced allowance of 3,500 rather than over 5,000 dwellings.

I wonder now whether we will see a creep of additional dwellings passed per development that will eventually see dwellings grow to the original number proposed in the ALP?

Whilst it’s positive that such a large sum has been acquired for infrastructure it’s equally as important that Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council support transparency and details the proof of how that improves provision of roads, school, doctors, etc., for the local residents affected.

With 800 people on the Adur social housing list I look to how this new development may support them, so I did a few calculations.

Zero social housing, 40 affordable rent, 14 market rent, 122 shared ownership and 264 market sale. If we break that down affordable rent is 80 per cent of the typical like-for-like market value therefore: a two-bed becomes £880, three-bedroom becomes £1040; 114 market rent therefore 2 bedroom is £1,100 and 3 bedroom £1300; 122 shared ownership (using the Caravel Court, Southern Housing example) two-bed cost £285,000, purchasing 30 per cent (£85,000) with a 5 per cent deposit at an average mortgage rate of 3.90 per cent = £425 mortgage + rent £457 + management fee £130 = £1,012 per month. This, therefore, works out £30 cheaper than renting said property.

Therefore, it can be concluded this development serves not to assist the 800 on the housing list, nor the majority residents of Adur who earn less than the national average salary.

I am not anti-development, but I fail to see how this development and others to come will serve the most needy in our locality.

James Butcher at the Adur Local Plan meeting, stated that objectors were denying local friends he had to buy locally who could not afford to purchase. I fail to see how this or other developments will change his friends’ scenario?

The failure comes from our national housing policy to bring to task developers over real affordable, or social housing, the prevalence of the buy-to-let market and stopping local authorities borrowing to build council housing.

Brighton & Hove’s housing policy then out-prices residents to Adur and Adur’s housing policy out-prices residents to Worthing. Can we not see the chain of events that perpetuates the problem of satisfying the housing needs for those not lucky enough to be privileged?

Catherine Arnold

Labour candidate for St Mary’s ward, Adur District Council,

Adur Avenue, Shoreham

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