By Kelly Wickham
Chichester District Council has approved a new housing strategy, which sets out how the council plans to meet local housing needs over the next five years.
One of the draft strategy’s key priorities is to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes across the district by 2025. Supporting this aim, the council’s cabinet also agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to allocate two grants for the creation of 17 new social rented homes in Chichester and Bracklesham. These homes will be built using grant funding from developer contributions.
The new housing strategy covers key themes based on the council’s objectives which include preventing homelessness, reducing the number of placements in bed and breakfasts, supporting rough sleepers and increasing capacity to meet rural housing needs through community led housing initiatives.
“Meeting the district’s housing needs is a key priority for the council,” explained Cllr Norma Graves, cabinet member for housing services, communications, licensing and events. “Having a dedicated housing strategy is critical in helping us to focusing our efforts on the needs of our residents.
“Last year, we invited people to let us know their views on our housing priorities, and what they would like to see included in the new strategy. Questions included how people should be prioritised for the housing register, how many affordable homes we should be providing, and what would have the biggest impact on reducing homelessness in the district. The responses have helped inform the strategy and shape its objectives.
“One of the strategy’s priorities is to continue to help support rough sleepers. As a council, we are working closely with our partners, charities and community groups to help prevent rough sleeping in a variety of ways. Recently, we were delighted to have been successful in our bid for £230,465 of funding from the government’s rough sleeper initiative. In particular, this funding will enable us to increase our outreach work, which has been making a significant difference.
“The draft strategy also builds on our existing commitment to supporting those who find themselves homeless in the district. The council is also moving forward with a £2.1 million project to redevelop one of its properties to provide an additional 17 flats for people who are homeless. If planning permission is granted, we hope that work will start on site later this year, with the accommodation ready for use by summer 2021. We know that this project will help make a real difference to people’s lives.
“Ensuring that local people can access affordable housing in our district is also very important, and this is a key part of the new strategy. With this in mind, I’m very pleased that we have just agreed to allocate grant funding for nine new affordable homes in Bracklesham and another eight in Chichester. It is envisaged that these properties will be ready in 2021.”