A DISTRICT councillor has described housing problems in the city as ‘broken and not fit for purpose’.
Cllr Richard Plowman said problems began with 2012 government planning policies, which had ‘a presumption for sustainable development’.
The local plan states that the district needs to accommodate 6,000 more houses.
Cllr Plowman said: “Local authority planners like large strategic sites as small sites do not generate the money for infrastructure so White House Farm to the west of Chichester, with 1,600 houses, and Tangmere, with up to 2,000, were to provide the bulk of the housing numbers and maintain that other government magical number of having enough sites to generate a five-year housing supply.
“Fall below that number and it is a ‘free for all’ for the developers to build where they like. Both these large strategic sites are delayed and housing delivery from them is rapidly going further and further away.
“One housing inspector has already challenged the five-year supply for Chichester due to the slowness of delivery of the houses from these strategic sites.
“Currently, infrastructure follows the development, triggered often by the number of houses sold, such as you can have a playground when 200 houses are sold. It is amazing how the sales figure seems to stick at 199 or under. Meanwhile, families with children living in the development have no facilities in some cases for four or more years.
“What does this mean for Chichester? Unfortunately, Chichester is generally a low wage area but house prices are very high. House prices are 11.5 times the average salary.
“The definition of an affordable house used to be 80 per cent of the market rate which really means there is no such thing as an affordable house in Chichester. We should use the term low-cost housing as that is what is required.”
Cllr Plowman described himself as ‘no magician’ but had three ideas to help the problems:
Give back councils the ability to build social housing.
Infrastructure should proceed the houses not follow it.
Make it easy for individuals and small builders up to ten houses to have access to land owned by councils to build their own homes
He continued: ” The housing market is broken and not fit for purpose. The Government has asked Sir Oliver Letwin to look into the matter and report but like everything these days I expect it is on hold because of Brexit.
“Whether such ideas can now fix the broken house market I am not certain. I am sure many of you have good ideas of your own.
“I always return to one definition of madness which is to expect things to change but carrying on doing what you doing at present.”