Changes needed to housing policy

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Chris Hurrell, High Wickham, Hastings

Cllr Chowney’s latest Hastings Observer column discusses affordable housing and regeneration.

I agree with Cllr Chowney that changes to national policy are essential.

However until that happens, short-term local measures could be taken to improve the situation.

Islington and Greenwich Labour councils have taken the following measures:

1. Developers viability statements are made public. This policy has been supported by a tribunal decision.

2. Applications which do not meet the affordable housing requirements laid down in the local development plan can be refused. This policy has been endorsed by a recent planning inspectorate appeal.

There is no indication in this article that HBC will be changing its affordable housing policies.

HBC still refuses to release viability statements under information regulations. Viability statements are not even available to the planning committee at the moment.

The Station Plaza decision was made without access to the viability statements. How can the planning committee make a decision without access to such information?

HBC still allows planning applications that provide no affordable housing to be passed.

The recent Little Acres Farm development in Cllr Chowney’s own ward was passed with a token 96k affordable housing provision on a development of 32 houses. This development was allocated to provide eight affordable homes in the local development plan.

Other similar losses of affordable housing include High Breezes (80 homes with a paltry 50k affordable housing contribution), Fern Road (26 homes with no contribution) and Station Plaza (over 100 units with no affordable housing).

It can only be hoped that HBC is in the process of changing its affordable housing policy to follow the examples of Islington and Greenwich councils.

Sadly no mention of this is made in the article.