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Letter: Greenfield developers' massive fail on affordable homes

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times 20 August 2015


Affordable Homes targets not met despite allocation of huge tracts of countryside for development

Berkeley Homes has submitted an application to build 300 dwellings on an allocated site West of Horsham, of which only six are ‘affordable. This amounts to a mere 2% of the applied-for build.

Earlier this year an application by the same company to build up to 594 dwellings on farmland west of Southwater was approved even though it would provide 30%, not the 40% required by the Core Strategy; a 25% shortfall against the plan requirement.

Meanwhile, Horsham District Council (HDC) has yet to announce how many of North Horsham’s ‘around’ 2500 houses will be ‘affordable’. Although at the examination of the HDPF last November the Inspector was advised that the site would deliver 35%, this commitment was subsequently rescinded post the examination. At the HDPF- Resumed Hearings, held this year on 3 July, an HDC officer advised that the number was subject to negotiation. Doubtless the developer is pressing for a number a long way south of 35%.

As explained by Paul Kornycky (his letter WSCT 13 Aug 15), developers are empowered to do this by Government policies, which seek to reduce developer funding for the provision of affordable homes.

Clearly, there is an urgent need for alternative sources of finance that are not dependent on the sale of new private homes.

Unfortunately, as was made apparent by Mr Salter, the Planning Inspector tasked with examining the HDPF, the presumption for local plans is that affordable homes will be funded entirely by developers through the sale of new private homes.

Consequently, housing targets are grossly inflated; and even though huge tracts of irreplaceable farmland are allocated for development the need for truly affordable homes, including rented accommodation, is not being met.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Roger F Smith
For CPRE Sussex (Horsham District)

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