‘Housing scrutiny needed now, not 2019’, says Labour

Beccy Cooper
Beccy Cooper

Plans to delay scrutinising Worthing’s housing issues until 2019 have been criticised by Worthing’s first Labour councillor for more than 40 years.

Councillor Beccy Cooper said the time was right for Adur and Worthing councils’ scrutiny committee to explore the issue, including a shortage of affordable housing.

The committee agreed to put it on its work programme on Thursday but the matter will not appear on the agenda until next year. Dr Cooper said: “This is disgraceful. Everyone recognises that housing is one of the most critical issues we face in Worthing. It’s across the board from the extremes of homelessness and poor quality high cost rentals, to the lack of affordable homes to buy.

“Our council has a duty to explore all possible ways of alleviating the problem. Instead, it’s said to the people of Worthing that it might get round to looking at it in a year’s time.”

Conservative councillor Luke Proudfoot defended the decision. He said: “The council has recently introduced new policies on housing, temporary accommodation, and homelessness. We need to let these policies take shape before we scrutinise them.”

“After a year we can gain real evidence of success or failure in these policies and properly scrutinise them.”

“Housing is such a serious issue. To try to scrutinise new policies without any evidence wouldn’t do the issue justice and would be a disservice to residents.”

The Labour councillor – the first from her party in Worthing in more than four decades – argued there was a broader issue away from the council’s own policies, adding the committee should take a wider remit akin to parliamentary select committees.