WITH a lengthy housing waiting list and sparse affordable homes available, a specialist organisation has begun work to create a better balance in Horsham’s rural areas.
Tom Warder, from Action in Rural Sussex, said that there is a ‘chronic’ shortage of affordable housing during the Southwater Parish AGM last Wednesday.
Mr Warder argued that central government caused the shortage by not investing in affordable homes and by introducing the ‘right to buy’ law which allows council house residents to buy their homes at a low price.
“These factors along with the fact that the housing market has risen have created a huge affordability problem,” Mr Warder said.
This issue particularly affects rural communities because it is causing young people to migrate out whilst older people are migrating in after saving up to live in a picturesque area.
However, young people are key in these communities as they can run local services and provide social care for the elderly.
Not only are young people desperate to get into the housing market but there is also a lack of affordable houses for elderly residents looking to downsize.
For this reason the action group is undertaking an ‘older persons housing needs survey’ in Horsham. After undertaking housing needs surveys in every village in Horsham, Action for Rural Sussex has formed plans for small housing developments of affordable housing, for local people.
In February last year the survey undertaken in Southwater yielded a 23 per cent response rate and 57 per cent of respondents agreed that they would approve of a development of affordable housing for local people in the area.
Mr Warder said that this was not as high as nearby sites such as Steyning, where 80 per cent were in favour, but that the number was still significant.
The action group will continue its efforts to create small scale affordable developments to rural villages around the district.