If anyone were in doubt as to the market failure of our broken housing system, surely the loss of the Kingsway housing association block in George V Avenue perfectly typifies the sorry state that we find ourselves in.
The market price for the block was apparently £1.1million but the sale saw the plot go for an eye-watering £2.4million. Fair play to Worthing Borough Council for at least having a go at buying it but there can be no doubt that radical action is needed fix our broken housing system. Just as the market failed us here, so it is also the weak link in the very concept of ‘affordable housing’, with a turbocharged market meaning that the term ‘affordable’ is fast becoming meaningless.
There are things that can be done. Firstly, when the inevitable planning application for the plot’s redevelopment is received, it must absolutely be rejected if it is claimed that it will not be financially viable for ‘affordable housing’ to be provided, regardless of what any viability study might say. The very fact that this plot went for so much more than originally thought demonstrates the commercial strength of the plot and so no excuses can be made for a lack of affordable units in any planning application. We must send a message that we will not tolerate the depletion of our housing stock so that all but the wealthiest are priced out of our town.
More widely, ‘affordable housing’ pricing needs shifting from market property prices to levels of income.
Goring by Sea