LETTER: Challenge the ‘difficult housing targets’

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Horsham District Council leader Cllr Ray Dawe in his by now familiar way ‘blamed the Government for passing on difficult housing targets’ (2 July 2015, p6).

Always blame someone else. He should read Dr Roger Smith’s excellent letter ‘Council duties over planning’ to see how Cllr Dawe has failed miserably to prevent our District from being dumped on by the unelected, unaccountable Inspectorate and developers.

Cllr Dawe should list what specific actions he has taken to challenge the government housing numbers with Ministers.

We might wonder just what Cllr Dawe knows about market trends in housing in our area. For instance does he know that in Crawley average house prices and salaries are respectively £253,378 (Rightmove) and £32,143 pa, with an average price/salary ratio of 7.8.

This is much less challenging than for Horsham District with its ratio of 13:1. So people are more likely to commute from Crawley to Horsham than vice versa.

In Brighton and Hove the average figures are £338,217 and £28,300, with a ratio of 12:1.

So how are local residents (especially the newly marrieds) working in the new warehouses north of the A264 going to be able to afford these new homes?

To catch up with the five-year land supply, developers will need to build (starting now) over 1,000 houses per year.

They won’t build if they can’t sell. They can’t start to build houses north of the A264 until 2017-18.

Southwater could start right away. Where are the affordable houses Cllr Dawe? I notice (p44) that the former West Sussex County Times building is now nine luxury apartments – an opportunity lost for affordable housing.

Leaders of other authorities have challenged ‘difficult housing targets’ setting out clearly the facts not supporting them.

Has Cllr Dawe done that? Perhaps he can prove me wrong.

VALERIE WISE

Owlscastle Close, Horsham

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