New Southwick development will be 100 per cent affordable housing

A healthy slice could soon be taken off of Adur District Council’s housing list after it was decided that all 50 flats in a Southwick development would be rented to people waiting for a home.

In November, plans were approved to build two blocks of flats in Albion Street, where numbers 11 to 27 used to stand, while also converting numbers 7 to 9.

Albion Street plans in Southwick

Albion Street plans in Southwick

The site is owned by the council and the original idea was for only 15 of the new homes to be classed as affordable while the rest would be sold on the open market.

At a meeting of the planning committee on Monday night, James Appleton, head of planning, explained that all that had changed following discussions with Homes England about the possibility of funding for the scheme as 100 per cent rented affordable.

Mr Appleton told the meeting that the change would mean fewer contributions – which all developers pay to counter the burden their schemes place on the local infrastructure – would be needed.

Rather than having to give West Sussex County Council money for transport, educations, libraries and the fire and rescue service, only a £77,980 transport cost would have to be covered.

He added: “The main reason for that is that the intended occupiers are those on our housing waiting list -they’re existing residents of the district and, from that point of view, the county council recognises that there will be no additional strain on services.”

A report to the meeting said the money would be spent on cycle route improvements on the A259, in accordance with the Shoreham Harbour Transport Strategy 2016-2031.

When asked for clarifications about the nature of the ‘affordable’ rent, Mr Appleton said: “The rent that would be payable would be at a level that anyone on our housing waiting list could afford because it would be covered by housing benefit and therefore it would be rent that’s below the government definition of 80 per cent of market rent.

“Anyone on our housing waiting list would be eligible to occupy one of these apartments and they would effectively have the rent covered so it would help to address our current housing waiting list – which needs addressing.”

Members supported the changes unanimously.