‘Exciting’ proposal for more affordable housing in Firle

MP Maria Caulfield with Firle residents and RACLT board members at the housing launch on Friday (September 6)
MP Maria Caulfield with Firle residents and RACLT board members at the housing launch on Friday (September 6)

An ‘exciting’ proposal to provide more affordable housing in Firle was launched on Friday (September 6).

Firle Estate with Ringmer Area Community Land Trust (RACLT) has identified a potential site in the village for 14 houses, of which 12 will be for rent by those with a close connection to the village.

The aim is to provide homes built for people not profit, owned by the community for the community.

Sy Morse-Brown, RACLT board member, said: “Firle Village has a particular need to realise accommodation for young families who cannot afford the price of houses in commercial schemes.

“These young families will be the source of much needed pupils for the primary school and help to ensure Firle remains a sustainable community into the future.

“In addition, there is a need for suitable housing for older members of the village to move to, whilst remaining close to friends and family.

“Firle Estate is generously offering the land for the scheme. It will build two or three houses for sale on the open market to cross subsidise the building of six affordable houses for rent. RACLT will build the other six affordable houses, also for rent.”

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The launch day on Friday was attended by residents, including Lord Gage and Henry Gage, several parish councillors, district councillors Sharon Davy and Johnny Denis, as well as MP Maria Caulfield.

A number of residents who attended signed up to become members of the RACLT and help to shape the scope of the proposed project, whilst others expressed interest in becoming tenants.

Opinions on what types of houses are needed in the village were recorded and will go towards finalising the design brief.

The need for affordable housing in Firle has been discussed with the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), Mr Morse-Brown said. It has also been agreed to enter into a pre-planning agreement to lay out the route to gaining the necessary planning approvals.

“A local firm of architects has been appointed after an invitation to tender and a design scheme is now being developed so that a planning application can be submitted,” he said.

Max Pengelley, chairman of the community trust, added: “This evidence of local support gives us confidence that the project will be successful and the first of several for the people of Firle.”

RACLT, a not-for-profit community benefit society, was set up in November last year to give the residents of Ringmer, Glynde, Firle and Beddingham a say in how their communities grow.