Councillor Dawe’s response to the letter from Gareth Jones (WSCT 26 June) pointing out that the leader is the owner of a string of buy-to-let homes in Horsham is revealing.
Although Cllr Dawe rightly notes that we need a lot more homes for rent, particularly affordable ones, he does not specify what he means by an ‘affordable’ rent - a point on which the Horsham District Planning Framework, recently out for consultation, is equally deficient.
As is now becoming widely recognised – except, it appears, in the mainstream political parties – the only way of providing sufficient affordable homes will be to revert to the practice followed by all governments for 60 years before 1979 of promoting substantial building of rental homes by councils.
But since this would obviously tend to depress rents in the private sector we can hardly expect a political system so dominated by members of the landlord class – reportedly including many Westminster MPs besides our own and Cllr Dawe – to adopt such a policy any time soon.
Instead we can expect them to continue peddling the myth of the ‘total shortage of houses’ proclaimed once again by Cllr Dawe – along with the nonsensical claim that the developers’ charter which is the National Planning Policy Framework will help to bring down the cost of housing, when it is obvious that the private sector will only build where and when it is profitable for them to do so – i.e. as long as prices remain high.
All this while trashing the landscape as much as they please. At this rate, as the housing crisis continues and living standards are further squeezed between rising prices and depressed incomes, Cllr Dawe and his colleagues can look forward to cutting the ribbon on many more new food banks across the district in the years to come.
Allingham Gardens, Horsham