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Affordable housing seminar: "excellent"

Lois Lane, National Housing Federation Lois Lane, National Housing Federation

There was an excellent turn out for the CPRE Sussex Affordable Housing Seminar at Barnham on 9th November.

Michael Warden, who leads CPRE’s work in Arun District, welcomed attendees and acted as chair for the event, supported by Ron Hurstwaite also from CPRE Arun. Opening speaker Lois Lane of The National Housing Federation outlined the challenge of building the affordable houses we need. Speakers including Martin Collett (English Rural) Damian Hayley (Worthing Homes) Amy Tyler-Jones and Mike Hughes (South Downs National Park) and Robin McDonald (Angmering CLT) gave examples of solutions.

There was an excellent debate at the end of the meeting and a real interest from local communities who want to take this agenda forwards. The term ‘affordable housing’ is problematic and CPRE would like to campaign for better definitions. Another key problem is the cost of land. One solution is to put out more calls for landowners to consider providing land for a ‘Rural Exception Site’ for community-led rural housing, kept at a truly affordable rate in perpetuity for local people. Other issues included building’ Lifetime’ homes which are adaptable to the future needs of residents, building social housing with truly affordable rents for people on lower incomes and investigating further how modern methods of construction could help bring costs of building down and increase the quality and sustainability of new homes.

With elections looming, all participants at the event were encouraged to attend hustings and/or ask parliamentary candidates about affordable housing to ensure that funding is given to enable more homes to be built as social rented housing – which is greatly needed in Sussex.

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