Councillors hear of severe lack of affordable Worthing homes

WITH nearly 1,300 applicants on Worthing’s housing register, borough councillors have been reminded of the acute need for more affordable housing.

The council’s planning committee was told at its meeting yesterday that the 210 affordable units proposed in the West Durrington development of 700 homes would not come close to meeting present demands.

Considering an application for 23 flats at the junction of Heene Road/Rowlands Road, committee members were told in an officers’ report: “The pressures on affordable housing are severe due to the high number of people who cannot access the mortgage market, nor the private rented sector, due to borrowing constraints and high rents.”

The report said there were 1,284 people on Worthing’s housing register, and there were currently 33 people in temporary accommodation.

“There are a large number of single, homeless people seeking accommodation, although there is also a significant need for two- and three-bedroom properties,” the report continued. At the same time, the private rented sector is experiencing unprecedented growth, and cost and affordability of rents is a major concern for many tenants.”

Reference is made to the 221 affordable units built in Worthing over the past three years.

“This is an average of 74 per annum, compared with the Strategic Housing Market Assessment estimate of 161 annually to meet need,” said the report.

“In Worthing, build rates will be boosted by the anticipated development of West Durrington, which will provide 210 affordable units (from a total of 700).

“However, when compared to the overall annual need, it is clear that the council needs to maximise the number of units from all strategic and windfall sites to come close to meeting the needs of the town.”

The report said developers’ 106 site contributions must take into account education, highways, health and community facilities.

But it concludes: “However, it must also be considered that affordable housing is a community benefit in its own right, and the positive impact of providing housing which is accessible for those unable to afford market housing should not be under-estimated.

“There are considerable economic benefits of providing housing to enable low-income workers to live near their workplace, as well as the positive impact it has on the serious issue of overcrowding and all its related problems.”