“WE need affordable housing and we need it now” - that is the message from town hall leaders in Worthing as they pledged to get tougher on developers building on brownfield sites.

As part of a wider strategy to ensure local people are not priced out of the town, Worthing Borough Council has taken a stand against government planning guidelines.

In recent years the Government has been keen to encourage house building, particularly for small sites.

Part of this approach has been to provide an incentive for brownfield development on sites containing vacant buildings.

This means when a plot with vacant units is brought back into use, the developer is offered a financial credit equivalent to the size of the existing building.

The credit can then offset any demands from the local planning authority for affordable housing housing contributions - meaning developers may take more profit out of the site.

But Worthing planners said the acute nature of the town’s housing problem and the high reliance on brownfield sites meant that adhering to this guidance would reduce the ability for the town to meet affordable housing demand.

For these reasons, planners recommended that Vacant Building Credit will not be applied to brownfield developments in the borough. The council will also continue to seek development contributions towards affordable housing from developments of six to ten dwellings.

With prices and demand on the rise and space at a premium, Worthing leaders have now agreed these recommendations - meaning more money from developers to provide more housing for those in need.

Worthing has the eighth highest affordability ratio for housing in the country, with the average house price nearly 11 times that of the average annual wage.