Zero affordable rented houses in plans for 300 Horsham homes

The first houses built at Highwood by Berkeley Homes on land west of Horsham
The first houses built at Highwood by Berkeley Homes on land west of Horsham

Plans for 300 new Horsham houses and flats contain no affordable rented homes.

Berkeley Homes, which already has outline permission to build more than 1,000 homes west of Horsham, has submitted a detailed proposal for its latest phase of housing.

Of the 300 planned houses and flats east of the A24 just six would be classed as ‘affordable’ and would be three-bedroom shared ownership properties, which equates to just two per cent of the total.

Horsham District Council’s current target on large-scale developments is 40 per cent, and is 35 per cent in its emerging strategy.

Berkeley already has full permission for a number of homes on the northern part of the site, some of which are already completed and occupied.

The latest phase relates to a strip of land south of the River Arun next to the railway line, and will need to be approved by HDC before building work can start.

According to the developer the key aims for the development are to ‘create a high quality neighbourhood with a distinctive character and a strong sense of community where sustainable lifestyles can flourish’.

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “The current reserved matters application (which is for 300 dwellings, football pitches, Multi Use Games Area, Neighbourhood Equipped Area of Play and other landscaping) needs to be considered in the context of the outline permission for the overall development across this site which was permitted by the Council in March 2010 for up to 1044 units.

“All schemes for affordable housing have to rely on additional funding which historically took the form of grants from Government. The Affordable Homes Programme introduced by the Homes and Community Agency towards the beginning of 2011 changed the social housing development landscape dramatically. Capital funding was cut by over 60%. There has therefore been the need to review how affordable housing can be delivered through this scheme.

“In accordance with the Obligations in the S106 Legal Agreement, and in the absence of any Government funding being achieved on this site, the Council has agreed to take some financial contributions in lieu of affordable housing on site.

“In total the Council has received £5.53 million in affordable housing contributions for this site. This includes monies being secured through a review mechanism in the S106 Legal Agreement.

“£795,250 of the £5.34 million has been allocated to bridge the funding gap with the Affordable Housing Provider to deliver the 35 rented homes off Windrum Close and the remainder of the money is/will be spent on affordable housing projects within the District.

“In summary the overall scheme will now deliver:

• 35 affordable rented general needs units on site – built and occupied

• 60 affordable rented extra care units on site – currently under construction

• 6 shared ownership units on site

“The remaining £4.73 million will deliver between 79 and 236 additional affordable units elsewhere within the District. The grant required for the delivery of affordable rented homes is likely to vary from £20,000 to £60,000 per unit depending on individual schemes.

“On this basis we expect to see between 181 and 338 affordable homes delivered through this scheme both off and on site. These homes will be suited to meeting local housing needs. There is also the potential for additional units in future if the review mechanism continues to generate additional sums through this scheme.”

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