It is deeply concerning that our planning committee has rolled over and agreed a plan for the redevelopment of the Bunce’s Chapel Road site with no provision for affordable housing.
And a paltry £25,000 payment has been accepted instead of the £750,000 that should be coming into council coffers to pay for off-site provision of affordable and social housing.
The commitment developers make to affordable housing provision in new developments is a key part of housing and development policy that helps to ensure the housing needs of all residents are met. It now seems developers can set aside that commitment on the grounds that it’s affecting their profit margins and the planning committee will accept it without a fight.
What was particularly concerning was they did so without even seeing the figures that underpinned the developer’s claim that the scheme would ‘not be viable’ if the affordable housing provision was met.
What the developers, Rocco Homes, did reveal was that their profits on this scheme have been slashed to just 14 per cent, a figure well below the ‘industry standard’ of 18 per cent.
Apparently, so our planners said at the meeting, times are so tough now for developers we – the residents of Worthing – are going to have to accept that the days of the affordable housing element of new developments has gone.
Are we really saying that those hard-pressed Worthing residents – desperate for affordable homes – have to go without in order to maintain the profit margins of the developers? And is our council really prepared to accept that without any kind of fight? I’m certainly not.
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