Rural Lewes affordable homes plan

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PLANS to provide more affordable homes to the district’s rural areas are being put in place by Lewes Council.

The council heard an income of £64,273 was needed to afford a one bed house in Ditchling, where the lowest price is £245,950.

An income of £43,714 was required for a two bedroom flat there at the lowest price of £170,000.

In Plumpton a three bed semi-detached property costs upwards of £235,000 and an income of £60,429 would be needed.

In March 2011 69 people or families were on the council’s housing register as in need of a home in Ringmer, with 44 in Newick, 43 in Barcombe and 31 in Chailey and the council said a housing needs survey would reveal greater numbers.

The council’s cabinet met last Tuesday to discuss a range of options put forward by a scrutiny panel in a report The Provision of Affordable Housing in Rural Areas.

The panel of five was set up last September, meetings were held, visits made to other councils and housing schemes and views sought from a wide range of people and organisations to compile the report.

Panel and scrutiny committee chair Cllr Sarah Osborne said: “Rural employers have told us the difficulty they find in recruiting staff due to a lack of housing, parish councils state local young people cannot afford to live in the areas they grew up in and older people in villages are unable to downsize to smaller properties unless they move away from the community they have lived in for many years.”

Cllr Ron Maskell, Lead Member for Housing at Lewes District Council said: “The provision of affordable housing is an important activity for us and we agreed a number of actions and policy initiatives that will enable us to work closer with parish councils, housing associations and developers to deliver more.”

Cllr Tom Jones, Lead Councillor for Planning, said: “We are listening to what our residents are saying about the issues communities face around affordable housing in rural areas and are making some good progress.”