Wealden has invested nearly £10 million in building new affordable homes over the past year despite difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic.
“We are on track to create 134 new affordable homes by 2025/26,” said Conservative councillor Ray Cade, Wealden Cabinet member for Housing. “Over the past year, 11 new homes for rent and three shared ownership homes have been delivered at Greenleaf Gardens, in Polegate. This is alongside 12 new council homes for rent and two for shared-ownership at Woodpecker View in Crowborough. All homes were quickly occupied by local applicants through Sussex Homemove.”
The Conservative-run council has recently appointed architects PRP to carry out the redevelopment of the Streatfeild House site in Uckfield. This will create more new affordable homes. PRP designed Wealden’s Grants Hill Court retirement living scheme which won the innovations category in last year’s Housing Design Awards. Part of the brief for the Streatfeild project is to include a number of homes which can be adapted to help families with disabilities.
- Other affordable housing projects currently in the pipeline are:
- 15 new homes in Burwash Road, Heathfield.
- 16 new homes at Horam.
- 10 new homes at the site of the Rockingham Nursery in Crowborough.
The last two schemes form part of the affordable element in large developments. Under Council rules, all new developments of a certain size should include 35% affordable housing. Other schemes are proposed for Hailsham, Wadhurst, Maresfield and Crowborough.
Cllr Cade welcomes changes on Government legislation which will allow councils more time to spend a higher portion of their receipts from the Right to Buy sales of council properties.
“The number of Wealden council houses that were sold under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme fell from 18 in 2019/20 to 10 last year,” said Cllr Cade. “This was probably the result of the pandemic. However even with the rule changes, we will still only be able to use 40% of the money raised through sales to replace our council house stock.”
Photo shows new affordable housing at Woodpecker View and Greenleaf Gardens.