LETTER: Targets should be enforced

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In last week’s County Times (New Blueprint Caps Housing..., June 27 ) Gary Shipton reported that the ‘contentiously high’ target for affordable housing on large scales developments is likely to be reduced in the new housing plan.

At a time when house prices continue to rise and more and more local people are priced out of the market, a decision to reduce this target can only be seen as further evidence of the Tory council’s persistent failure to serve the interests of local people.

The target of 40 per cent has been in place for many years but delivery of affordable housing has fallen well short of this figure, resulting in a serious housing crisis in our district that has left increasing numbers of people inadequately housed.

The government’s welfare reforms have made the situation far worse as benefit caps mean that private rents are out of reach of many.

The only solution to the affordable housing crisis is to increase the amount of affordable homes in the district but this solution is unlikely to be achieved if the target is reduced.

In view of the fact that most people living in the district are opposed to the development of thousands of high cost homes but would like to see more homes for local people , the 40 per cent figure hardly seems contentious, particularly if it acts as a disincentive for development.

The Tory councillors running Horsham council have failed local people massively by failing to adopt a local plan that reflects local need.

Whether this failure results from a deliberate strategy to favour the interests of developers over local people or simply from incompetence, it’s about time the council made amends.

If evidence shows that 40 per cent affordable is what is needed to deliver homes for local people then that is the target that should be set and should be enforced.

The developers most interested in maximising their profits rather than delivering what is needed in our communities, may find this contentious but will soon get the message and find somewhere more appropriate for their urban sprawl.

Carol Hayton

Clarence Road, Horsham

Horsham Labour Party