Affordable homes well below target

The expressions of concern by Tory and Lib Dem councillors, as reported in the County Times, about the lack of affordable housing on the West of Horsham developments, beggar belief.

When Berkeley Homes and Countryside Properties submitted their planning applications, only Horsham Labour Party opposed them on the grounds that they failed to provide an acceptable level of affordable housing.

Whilst we welcome the recent comments as an endorsement of our campaign for affordable homes, we would like to remind the councillors that when the planning applications were submitted to the council, Lib Dem and Tory councillors overwhelmingly approved them despite the numbers of affordable homes offered being well below the council’s own requirements for this site .

Are they suggesting by their belated criticism of these developments that they do not understand their role in the planning process or the implication of their decisions?

If so, are they really fit to make such crucial decisions on our behalf?

The escalation of our campaign against the planning approval granted to the two developers resulted in their agreement to the provision of additional funds in lieu of affordable housing if housing prices increased during the development period.

We now know that house prices in Horsham have increased by 15 per cent in 2012 and we would expect the very same councillors who are now bemoaning their original decision, to press the council officers to ensure that the commitment made is adhered to and to extract the additional funding from the developers’ burgeoning profits.

DAVID HIDE

Chair, Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham