Homes must be affordable

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I am writing to complain about Park Homes and their intended development in Strand Meadow, Burwash.

Originally, the proposed development was for 17 houses with 40 per cent of them being affordable homes. This then increased to 30 houses on the same plot of land because the developer said it wouldn’t make enough profit.

Now, the promise of affordable homes has been entirely withdrawn and the developer now wants to build 30 FULL PRICE homes instead, completely cutting out the affordable homes that Burwash so desperately needs – again because they say they won’t make enough profit.

The excuse of not making enough profit is a well-known loophole that developers have been using for years. They can afford to pay over the top for a plot of land knowing full well they will probably get planning permission by promising to build affordable homes, and will then recoup their money later by claiming they can’t make a profit unless they build full price houses instead.

If given planning permission to build affordable homes, there should be a legal obligation to build the affordable houses or planning permission should be revoked. The developers are running rings around councils and NEVER intend to build the affordable homes in the first place. If developers overpay for land and commit to too many affordable homes, they shouldn’t be allowed to demand the planning is changed later to protect their profits. A business that can’t make accurate financial forecasts and can’t accurately work out its costs beforehand doesn’t deserve to stay in business.

Not only that, the land in question is entirely unsuitable for houses due to the topography of the area and a high risk of flooding. Southern Water has also already said they have no more capacity in the local sewage system, so where is the sewage going to go? This is a recognised area of outstanding natural beauty as well, with ancient woodlands nearby.

One would hope that Rother District Council will seriously consider rejecting the planning application as it will cause significant harm to the area. Yes, we need more homes in the area, but they need to be affordable so that local people and their families can stay in the area they grew up in.

There’s no point building more and more full price houses at £450k. Young people with new families cannot afford to buy such houses. This is purely for profit and should be stopped. There are other, more suitable, places to build.

Martyn Wright

Strand Meadow, Burwash