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Councillors 'excited' by prospects for new council homes

Council leader: 'My resolve to develop homes for local people is stronger than ever'

Councillor Nicholson

Councillor Nicholson
The Leader of Lewes District Council has spoken of her determination to continue to build council housing and her pride that despite 'significant external challenges', the authority remains one of the few in the UK developing new homes.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson was speaking during a Cabinet meeting this morning (14/3/24) where councillors approved the purchase and development of brownfield land on and around the clubhouse at Peacehaven Golf Club, subject to planning, and the development of council owned brownfield land at Broyle Close in Ringmer. 

The Peacehaven site could deliver 24 homes, while planning approval is in place for three / three-bedroom houses at Broyle Close using modular construction via the council's delivery framework.

Councillor Nicholson said: "The housing crisis in the UK is never far from the headlines and with good reason.  There has been a 27% increase in rough sleeping in England and a staggering 280,000 households are living in temporary accommodation - a record figure. With these unacceptable numbers in mind, my resolve to develop homes for local people is stronger than ever.

"Despite significant external challenges, not least the soaring costs associated with construction and limited levels of support from the government, this council has retained a focus on building quality homes for people on our housing register and that's something I will always be very proud of."

The council is also working with the Tenants of Lewes District (TOLD) to create a series of principles for better housing.

Councillor Nicholson added: "TOLD will help us develop principles that will guide all our decision making, from finding suitable locations in the district that meet the council's climate change objectives to ensuring a completed property is affordable to live in.

"I'm really excited by the council housing we have in the pipeline at the sites discussed today and will work tirelessly to make the next four years as productive for the development of new homes, as the last four have been."

Council officers have also been busy assessing old garage sites owned by the authority and have earmarked 11 locations that could see up to 45 new homes delivered between 2024/25 and 2025/26, subject to planning approval and a final business case.   In addition to these, 66 affordable homes are anticipated as a result of s106 agreements.  

When a developer receives planning consent for a housing development in the district, a s106 agreement requires them to also build an agreed number of homes for people on the council's housing register.

In many instances, other registered providers, such as housing associations, are not coming forward, putting affordable housing at risk. To protect and futureproof the affordable allocation, the council has committed to step-in as part of the evolving principles.

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