LETTER: Affordable homes targets not met

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Paragraph 14 of Planning Inspector Geoff Salter’s report (www.savingnorthhorsham.co.uk) on the Horsham District Council’s plan talks about ‘..the needs of London…’

Does this mean that Horsham district in Mr Salter’s mind is seen as a potential overspill from London? HDC has already offered just about every other council in the South East help in meeting their housing targets.

The 650 per annum figure for the next 20 years that was in HDC’s plan included 90 houses per year to meet neighbouring councils’ needs, showing a willingness to meekly comply with the ‘duty to co-operate’.

We know Londoners are downsizing (or would that be ‘down-pricing’) to move to the suburbs – not to work there but to commute to work in London. Only these potential residents could possibly afford mortgages to meet the spiralling cost of Horsham’s housing.

In paragraph 2 of the report, Mr Salter actually mentions ‘affordable housing’. But he must know that developers don’t make so much money out of affordable houses and don’t want to build them.

In this new age of ‘localism’ the developers are in control. Local plans including targets like 35-40 per cent affordable housing are a joke. Builders are more likely to produce 15-20 per cent - or much less.

Readers may be interested to read an article in the Guardian (1.1.15) about London’s success or otherwise with affordable housing (since Mr Salter thought it important to refer us to London) at www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/01/guardian-view-affordable-housing-developers-must-made-show-sums.

It quotes various schemes with developers trying to get away with as few ‘affordable’ dwellings as possible. ‘At Capco’s redevelopment of Earls Court in

west London, barely one in ten of the 7,000 new homes will be affordable and none will be for social rent’.

Mr Blevins, MD of Liberty Trust, admitted to Mr Salter that the percentage of affordable housing at their ‘flagship’ development at Kings Hill, Kent had been reduced from an original 40 to 17.5 per cent.

Mr Salter’s report mentions ‘affordable housing needs’ once (para 2). He just brushes it away in a reference to a Strategic Housing Market report 2014.

Yet to young people in our district it is a huge problem that won’t be solved by ignoring it and allowing developers to have so much control over his thinking.

GWEN TAYLOR

Havengate, Horsham