Concern about social housing shortage in North Street Quarter development in Lewes

A further ‘consultation workshop’ on the North Street Quarter development in Lewes takes place on Monday amid concern over the volume of social housing proposed.

While nearly 400 homes have been planned by developers Santon only 30-35 per cent would be social housing, says Lewes Stop The Cuts.

The pressure group stated: “Lewes town has 400 households on the council waiting list. The only major source of new social housing is likely to be housing that private developers have to provide when doing new developments. In Lewes this largely means Santon.

“The council can set a percentage of housing that must be social housing although a developer can haggle with them if they can show that the designated percentage would be financially unviable for them.

“Lewes District Council has set the proportion of social housing for large developments at 40 per cent, although it has failed to make this an absolute requirement.

“Three-quarters of this social housing must be rented. The rest can be shared ownership, where people buy a percentage of their home.

“There are nearly 400 homes projected. But Santon is proposing that only 30 per cent or at most 35 per cent of these should be social housing since this would enable them to make more profits.”

Lewes Stop The Cuts is urging people to say they want as much council rented housing as possible when filling in the consultation, and to press the council to stand firm on 40 per cent social housing.

Monday’s consultation exhibition will be held at Southover Grange, Lewes, from 4-7.30pm.

Meanwhile, Lewes Labour this week called for greater consideration of social housing, alternative models of housing ownership and inegrated services in any development of the North Street Quarter.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate for Lewes Town Council’s Bridge Ward, said: “Whilst mixed housing is important, Lewes is in desperate need of housing for young people and small houses with currently the highest number of people on the council waiting list in the district.

“As someone with a background in co-operative and mutually owned housing I believe that co-operative housing must be part of the mixture, but not take away from social housing (council controlled)”.