AT THE time of the eco-town proposals the housing register in Arun stood at 3,880 households (definition: individuals who comprise a family unit and who live together under the same roof).
Now the figure is 4,933 households – an increase of 27 per cent. Given the poor state of our local economy, and in these troubled times, it seems likely the figure will grow higher yet. These are all individuals and families that just want a place they can call home. Many are our children and grandchildren. Our MPs have demonstrated on numerous occasions their loyalties lie elsewhere.
To put the housing waiting list into perspective, the town of Arundel has 1,850 households. It would take 2.5 towns the size of Arundel to provide homes for those currently on Arun’s housing register.
Another way to understand the scale of the housing problem is to recognise that around 10,000 people signed the CAFE petition against the eco-town proposals – which means that there is now one household waiting for a home for every two individuals that signed the petition! If we could count the individuals (instead of households) on the housing register I suspect they might now constitute the larger of the two!)
Throughout the eco-town process it became apparent that there is little appetite for a new settlement or jobs on the largest available brownfield site in West Sussex (Ford Airfield) as a means of resolving the district’s housing and employment needs. So it should not now come as a surprise to anyone that we are seeing numerous housing proposals ‘pepper-potted’ across the district. There will be plenty more.
Is it time for those who do not have the appetite for a new settlement to accept, with good grace, that the only alternative is greenfield development in their locality?