It was with some amusement that I read the headline on page 67 of the 26th of June edition of the West Sussex County Times – ‘Ray Dawe: Astonishing amount of rubbish in district’.
Having just read Mr Dawe’s typically dismissive response to Gareth Jones’ letter about Mr Dawe’s ownership of at least seven buy to let properties, it seemed very apt!
Like so many of his ilk, Mr Dawe appears to have no appreciation of basic economics or other people’s not unreasonable desire to get on the housing ladder.
He says he does not ‘understand the logic of anyone wanting to sell property at or below market rates; this would in no way increase the number of houses in Horsham District’.
It may not increase the total number of houses but it would enable at least seven other families to get on the housing ladder and make mortgage and capital repayments rather than paying Mr Dawe at least £60,000 a year in rent, which other than funding Mr Dawe’s lifestyle, gives those families no stake in the property they are living in.
Mr Dawe is also characteristically silent on why the UK is in the dire position with such a shortage of houses to both own and rent.
Attributable firstly to the decision of Mrs Thatcher’s government to allow (some might say bribe) sitting tenants the right to buy their local authority property at significant discount to market value and then for that and successive governments to fail to reinvest the proceeds from such sales in new affordable and social housing.
Meanwhile tax incentives have encouraged the likes of Mr Dawe and others to invest in buy to let property, inflating house prices out of the reach of many first time buyers, whilst allowing those investors to accrue significant property portfolios and associated income.
We have seen precious little positive action by Mr Dawe and his acolytes in really increasing the number of affordable homes in Horsham District during their extensive tenure in office, despite the statutory requirement to do so.
How often have we seen his administration yielding to developers’ pleas that a new housing scheme would not be viable unless the proportion of affordable / social houses is reduced?
Their ill thought out scheme for North Horsham development would no doubt go the same way, unless the more rational and innovative alternative scheme to spread new development around the District, including converting redundant offices, using existing brown-field sites and increasing housing densities in the urban area, is adopted.