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1,500 new homes stalled in Sussex
Developers are being urged to get to work on approved housing schemes to help tackle Brighton and Hove’s housing crisis.
The call comes as a report reveals there are more than 1,500 stalled homes in the city at a time when housing waiting lists continue to grow and house prices rise.
A further 1,067 homes in Crawley have also been given planning permission but have yet to materialise into bricks and mortar and another 341 stalled homes in Worthing according to the Centre For Cities report.
Housing charities are calling on developers to be bold and build desperately needed new houses despite the uncertain economic outlook.
Some developers however pointed the finger at the city’s determination to be green which was making building homes too difficult.
The Argus has also learnt that a £570 million government fund designed to kick-start stalled housing schemes has only had three successful applicants in Sussex since its launch in November 2011.
Only three developments for a total of 169 homes in Lewes, Bewbush and Wealden will see Get Britain Building money.
A Land Registry report last week revealed that Brighton and Hove had one of the largest increases in property prices in 2012 with a 5.3% annual rise to an average £229,004 while the council’s housing waiting list now exceeds 12,000.
Andy Winter, chief executive at the Brighton Housing Trust, said he hoped that a quick resolution to proposals to build 750 new homes on Toads Hole Valley would spur other developers into action.
He said: “Developers should either get on with it or pull out.
“We can’t sit around for another five or ten years waiting for the economic climate to come right, the need for housing is too important.
“One of the problems with private development is these new homes could become second homes for people from London. That won’t solve our housing crisis.
“We need the social housing aspect so local people get a chance of this housing.”
Businessman Mike Holland said: “The onerous conditions being imposed on developers is to blame.
“At the moment the green aspirations for this city are put before getting houses built. I’m not suggesting any party has been perfect but things have got worse since the Green administration took over.”
Tony Mernagh said the city re-flected the country as a whole where less than half the targeted number of homes were built last year.
He said: “All local authorities can really do is make the climate propitious for housebuilders.”
Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities said: “Brighton has high numbers of stalled housing schemes. Ultimately, cities, not government, should make decisions about local housing requirements, so that the housing needs of their residents can be met.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said there was often a gap of one to two years between planning permission being granted and development starting because of a wide variety of financial, marketing or purchasing issues.
He said: “Even in the best market conditions it is quite normal to have a stock of planning permissions which have not ‘technically’ started.
“The economic situation over the last few years has adversely affected house building, and Brighton and Hove is no exception.”
A Crawley Borough Council spokesman said: “The main reason for the delay in a number of these schemes is the current economic climate, particularly in the light of restrictive lending practices and inability for first-time buyers to obtain a mortgage, which makes sites with a high percentage of flats, aimed at the first-time buyer market, particularly at risk.”
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