Council officer funded by housing developer

C072787-1_chi_eastpallant phot shimmin 101207'East Pallant House, Chichester.
C072787-1_chi_eastpallant phot shimmin 101207'East Pallant House, Chichester.

A slice of the salary paid to the council’s rural housing officer is funded by developer Hyde Marlett.

The relationship was revealed last week at Chichester District Council’s area development control committee (south).

Following an Observer request the council said the post of the rural housing enabler at the council is 70 per cent funded by Hyde Marlett, a branch of housing development business The Hyde Group.

The post, which is being advertised this month, is currently filled by Sam Irving.

The job advert said the role involves: “Promoting and facilitating the provision of new affordable housing in the rural towns and villages of Chichester District.”

This is on behalf of the Chichester Rural Housing Partnership, a scheme teaming the council, and Hyde Marlett to deliver 125 affordable homes in rural areas over five years.

Following a request for more information, a council spokeswoman said: “We have a number of public sector and not-for-profit organisations that we work closely with.

“Sometimes our work overlaps and in these cases it makes sense to share or part-fund roles.

“This also offers the taxpayer good value for money by reducing costs.

“In 2013/14 we will have just over 11 full-time equivalent posts that are shared or funded with other organisations.

“Examples include our wellbeing officers, who are funded by NHS Sussex, and our community wardens who are part-funded by local parish.

“The rural housing enabler post is also part-funded by Hyde Martlet, our rural housing partner.

“Around 70 per cent of this post is funded by Hyde Martlet.

“This post involves working closely with parish councils, landowners, house builders and community groups to oversee the provision of new affordable housing for local people in the rural towns and villages of Chichester district.

“This work is carried out on behalf of the Chichester Rural Housing Partnership.

“However, this particular role is solely managed by Chichester District Council.”

The Observer discovered the link at a planning committee meeting, where Mr Irving was outlining the details and merits of a planning application for a development of 17 new homes, 15 of which were affordable, in the Witterings.

Members of the committee permitted the plan.