Record year for affordable homes in Arun

ALMOST 200 affordable homes, more than ever before, were built across Arun last year.

Between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, 196 homes for families who cannot afford to buy or rent privately were built across the district, compared to just 67 in the previous year.

Research from homeless charity, Shelter, though, showed there was a need for 658, and in the three years up to 2011, an average of just 87 affordable homes per year were built – at that rate it would take more than 12 years to clear Arun’s housing waiting list.

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Ricky Bower, Arun’s cabinet member for planning, said: “I’m happy that we are able to report some key achievements against a very challenging backdrop.

“Arun District Council is committed to increasing the number of affordable homes across the district so these figures are really good news for the many families who we know are struggling to find somewhere to live.”

Of those homes built, detailed in the council’s annual monitoring report, 61 affordable homes were in Yapton, 73 in Littlehampton, and 45 in Bognor Regis, with others constructed in Rustington, Angmering and East Preston.

The majority were suitable for families, said a council spokeswoman, and featured two or more bedrooms and a garden. On the annual report, published at www.arun.gov.uk this week, Mr Bower said: “Monitoring is an important part of the planning process and plays a critical part in identifying changing situations that may trigger a review of policies. We prepare annual monitoring reports in order to assess the extent to which policy objectives are being achieved.”

He added that 3,000 square metres of employment floor space had been created in Arun in the last financial year.

“We are also vigorously pursuing opportunities to bring into use more employment land to boost the local economy, so starting 2012 with 0.3 of a hectare more than 12 months ago is very welcome,” he said.

Shelter’s figures also show Arun residents would need to earn £44,759 a year in order to afford an average-priced property in the district.