Families had the chance to spend the holidays in their new affordable homes in Plumpton Green after a development was built for villagers or those with a strong local connection.
The 14 local families received keys to their properties on Wednesday December 17 during a celebratory event attended by councillors.
A lack of smaller homes and council housing in the village means residents are forced to move out to Haywards Heath or Burgess Hill.
The trend in the village over the last 20 years has been for large executive homes to be built with four or five bedrooms, Plumpton parish councillor Reg Stone explained.
In addition the village is an hour away from London by train, increasing prices.
To qualify for the homes residents needed to be on the waiting list for a council home.
Chairman of Plumpton Parish Council Paul Nicholson said: “The Parish Council has worked hard for almost five years to steer this project through and secure affordable homes for local people and today is a cause for celebration.”
One of the first tenants to receive the keys was Katie Stenning, who grew up in Plumpton, where her late father, Ray Harland, was the head groundsman at the racecourse.
When the keys were handed over to her she burst into tears of joy. “It’s wonderful. I’m so happy,” she said.
The development was built by Hastoe Housing Association and Lewes District Council.
Cllr Stone, who chaired Plumpton Parish Council’s working group, added: “This development is the culmination of some hard work and determination to secure badly needed affordable housing for local people.”
The village development is called Sun Close and is a mix of houses and flats.