A bleak picture has been painted for people looking for low cost homes in the Midhurst area by Chichester District Council’s housing delivery manager.
Linda Grange told a packed meeting at the launch of Midhurst Community Land Trust that fewer low cost homes were being built in rural areas, Midhurst had lost 219 affordable rented
homes through the government’s ‘right to buy’ policy and the remaining housing stock was focussed towards larger and more expensive homes.
She said there were currently 79 people on the housing register, 33 of whom were in ‘high’ need and a further 46 needed somewhere to live in the town but some were likely to have to move away to find homes.
Her statistics emphasised the need for the setting up of a community land trust in the town which will see the community create and control a stock of ‘genuinely affordable’ housing for local people to rent or buy.
Trust chairman Adrian Moore, stressed it would be able to keep its homes as it was exempt from the ‘right to buy’ strategy and ensure they went to local people.
He said CDC’s housing statistics put in grim focus the need for a trust: “We have a housing problem, if we don’t do anything it will only get worse, This meeting is the start of the Midhurst Community Land Trust and the first thing to do now is to find some land where we can build.” He stressed the importance of the input of people in the community.
Linda Grange said the mean average house price in Midhurst was £410,000 - the average cost at the bottom end of the market was £240,000.
The average salary was £25,739 and the average house price at the bottom end of the market was just over 11.5 times the income of lower paid workers: “Chichester is the fifth least affordable district to live in the country,” said Linda.
There were only three affordable rented homes in the pipeline in the South Downs, she said, and these were all at Rogate. There were five shared ownership houses on the King Edward VII estate and one was planned at Fittleworth.
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