How is a Sussex Village Increasing its Affordable Housing?
A Sussex village has increased its affordable housing by 9 per cent with a new development. Housing Industry Leaders explores how it is making a difference to the lives of its local community.

The completion of 15 new affordable rural homes was recently marked by the community of Icklesham in East Sussex.

Prior to the houses being built, there was a total of 167 affordable homes in the area. The new homes represent a 9 per cent increase in social housing provision.

The homes were prioritised for people with a local connection

On the former agricultural land, 12 homes have been developed for social rent, and three for shared ownership.

All the homes have been prioritised for people with a local connection to the Civil Parish of Icklesham. For example, people who are working in the village, those with close family in the area, or those who have previously lived there but have been forced to move out because of the previous lack of affordable housing.

Chairman of Icklesham Parish Community Land Trust, Geoff Foot, explained that the development was key to ensuring that the area remains futureproofed and that there are housing options available for everyone.

He said: “For many years Icklesham Parish Council has been concerned at the dearth of local affordable housing due to rising local house prices and the lack of affordable housing options.”

Younger families were having to leave the villages, or were having to live in unsuitable accommodation.

Continuing, Geoff expressed that it is clear to see that affordable housing is a major need for local communities: “We received over 500 bids for the houses and a number of deserving applicants had to be turned down.

“Certainly for me, it brought home the scale of the problem with the lack of local affordable housing, both here and across the district.”

Delivering affordable housing is key to tackling the UK’s housing crisis

The Icklesham Parish Community Land Trust played a pivotal role in the development of the site working in partnership with Icklesham Parish Council, Sussex Community Housing Hub, Rother District Council, Hastoe Housing Association, ECE Architecture, Westridge Construction Limited and employer’s agent McCreith Construction Consultants.

Hastoe Board Member, Robert Rutledge, highlighted that the local community is at the centre of this development: “I know that 15 homes doesn’t sound like a lot, but they represent a 9 per cent increase in social housing provision in the Parish and they have certainly made a huge difference to the lives of the people who live in them.”

What’s more, homes built by CLTs cannot be sold off, so these homes will be kept for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.

Seeing developments like this in place which focus on providing affordable housing for those who need it the most is key to tackling the UK’s housing crisis.