Trotting Labour line ignores the reality

Cllr Nash needs to acquaint himself with what has occurred in the eight years since he was previously a member of Arun District Council.

Simply trotting out the former Labour government’s line on housing need ignores the reality.

The start point for housing ‘targets’ is the housing needs register.

However, the former government imposed rules on local housing authorities that included that to be in ‘local need’ someone had to stay in the district for only 24 hours to qualify – even anyone who was properly housed but aspired to change their address or ‘down-size’ could be included.

The figure he quoted in his letter of 3,400 includes all categories on the Arun housing needs register.

The new coalition government has given all housing authorities the right to determine their own rules for qualification and these will take effect in Arun from January 1, 2012.

The full effect of the rule changes – including a five-year rule on ‘local’ qualification – has not been quantified but I fully expect the total number will be less than 50 per cent of the current figure.

In planning terms those who have an aspiration, and thus are not in need through medical or for unfit homes reasons, were never included in local plan housing targets before the last government’s rule change.

Those currently in the most important categories of housing need amount to around 1,000 and Arun will deliver on their need over the next five years – 765 ‘affordable houses’ already have planning permission.

He also suggests ‘regeneration’ would be put in jeopardy by reducing the housing target.

Housing development has never led regeneration, only contributed to it.

Out-commuting from Arun has grown unacceptably since 2001 and Arun is now faced with a need to provide employment opportunities for those who have moved into the new developments the former government forced on the district.

This is why the Arun council is placing such a high priority on employment in the future.

Cllr Ricky Bower, Arun District Council

Cabinet Member for Planning; ward member for East Preston with Kingston