LETTER: Backwards step could be taken

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last year, it’s that Worthing residents have had enough of developers using loopholes to dodge their responsibility to provide affordable housing in new developments in the town.

And yet Roffey Homes have the audacity to come to the planning committee last week with a scheme for the site they own on the corner of Farncombe Road and Lyndhurst Road that offers no on-site affordable housing element and no contribution to off-site affordable housing either. The reason? Because they claim that to do so would reduce their profits from the 20 per cent they expect to get, down to what they would see as a paltry 14 per cent.

Where they should be providing 30 per cent affordable housing in the scheme they’re offering none.

And where they should be paying £733,379 for off-site housing provision, again they’re offering absolutely nothing.

There has to be something seriously wrong with the process that allows this to happen. It doesn’t help that the public were excluded from the session where this issue was discussed so we can have no idea how valid Roffey’s financial claims are.

When it comes back to the planning committee for a decision, I’ll be pressing for a better deal for the residents of Worthing on the affordable housing issue.

It was heartening to see that, towards the end of last year, as a result of our campaigning on the issue along with the help of the Worthing Herald, the committee started to take a stand against developers shirking their responsibilities for affordable housing provision.

Unless this application is rejected, we are taking a huge step backwards and giving a green light to developers to ignore their obligations.

Jim Deen

Worthing Labour

Harrow Road, Worthing

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