Constrained coastal areas ‘need help not another whipping’ over housebuilding rates

Areas such as Adur which have failed the Government’s housing delivery test ‘need help not another whipping’, according to campaigners.

Areas such as Adur have very few sites available for development
Areas such as Adur have very few sites available for development

The results, which were published last week, showed that over three years just 41 per cent of the number of homes required were built in Adur.

Councils that fail the test will be made to significantly boost building rates by finding extra land for development.

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Other local authorities such as Worthing, which fell just short at 93 per cent and Arun at 91 per cent, will be required to produce action plans.

Bill Freeman, the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s Adur spokesman, said: “How the government can expect a failing local authority to achieve these targets by adding 20 per cent on to their numbers beggars belief.

“It’s quite ridiculous – these councils need help not another whipping.”

Adur District Council said it was ‘taking all necessary steps to increase housing delivery’.

A local plan was adopted 2017 after the council was able to demonstrate to a planning inspector that the lack of land available severely restricted its ability to meet its objectively assessed future housing need.

Since then the council has approved two sites totalling more than 1,100 homes.

However, the Secretary of State has not announced if he will call in the decision made in October to allow 600 homes and an IKEA at New Monks Farm in Lancing.

A spokesman for the council said: “It is just frustrating when the council is seeking to deliver much needed new housing that we are prevented from doing so waiting months for a decision from the Secretary of State.” Another application for 520 dwellings is imminent and these three strategic sites are expected to boost housebuilding rates significantly in the coming years in Adur.

Mr Freeman pointed out that Adur was being measured on years before the local plan was adopted with no way to affect those historical build rates other than catch up those shortfalls in future years of the plan, which the council has already built into its numbers.

He added: “This method of calculation is fundamentally flawed and inappropriate.

“It seems ludicrous to impose a 20 per cent buffer on a heavily land constrained district like Adur which is not only unfair but will only fail to provide the housing required.”

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: “The council has significantly increased housebuilding rates in recent years with the 700 dwellings being built at West Durrington and recent planning applications for the redevelopment of new brownfield sites will help to continue this trend.

“The council is also progressing a new local plan that is considering releasing additional greenfield development to help meet some of the towns future housing requirements.

“However, like Adur district the acute shortage of land means that it will not be possible for Worthing to meet all its future housing needs.”

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council has only recently received the results of the Housing Delivery Test from the Government (20 Feb 2019). In anticipation of these, a report to consider how the council would respond to these new requirements was taken to cabinet in November 2018.

“The council is working hard to ensure that all the appropriate permissions for development in accordance with the local plan are in place and once they are established, that developers build the homes in a timely manner.

“However, we must be mindful of the challenges which affect the market such as consumer confidence and the range of homebuilders working in Arun, all of which are outside the council’s control.”