Is a lack of affordable homes ‘fracturing’ young families?

Retired social worker John Munro outside Greenhurst, part of the site of the possible retirement homes
Retired social worker John Munro outside Greenhurst, part of the site of the possible retirement homes
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A lack of affordable housing in Arundel is ‘fracturing’ families, according to a retired social worker.

John Munro, who lives in Queens Lane, has criticised plans to build retirement flats on the Blastreat site in nearby Fitzalan Road.

The Blastreat site which would be torn down to make way for the flats

The Blastreat site which would be torn down to make way for the flats

John said: “We already have four places for elderly retired people. Most urgently the need is for affordable housing for young people.”

Developer Renaissance Retirement wants to build up to 50 retirement flats on the brownfield land in Fitzalan Road, against the town’s neighbourhood plan.

John said: “I was talking to a woman in church whose three kids had to leave Arundel to find somewhere they could afford.”

As a former social worker, John knows how moving away can affect young families.

He told the Gazette he saw the same thing in Crawley in the 1970s: “It was a new town and it was growing fast.

“Young couples would come down from East London leaving their extended familes behind them.

“It is that fracturing of families that can be so destabilising for children.

“There are no aunts and uncles, no grandmothers and grandfathers to call on for help, support and company.”

John said that many people who work in Arundel live elsewhere, and with more affordable housing young people living in the town could fill those jobs instead.

Last week, the Gazette reported that Arundel Town Council has a plan for affordable housing for the Blastreat site.

Mayor James Stewart has also said the council could go to the High Court to defend the town’s neighbourhood plan against the plans for a new retirement community.

Peter Tanner, planning director for Renaissance Retirement has previously acknowledged residents’ concerns over affordable housing, but said: “We believe there’s a clear need for modern homes for the elderly in and around Arundel and whose numbers are only predicted to increase.”

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