MP urges Chancellor: Help protect West Sussex greenfield sites from overdevelopment

An MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help protect rural sites in West Sussex from housebuilding.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 4:27 pm

Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith has asked the Chancellor to introduce a stamp duty break for ‘downsizers.’ He said many older homeowners were prevented from moving to smaller properties because of the duty - leading housebuilders to seek to build more houses.

And he cited developers’ proposals to build on greenfield sites in Ashington, Adversane, Buck Barn, Kirdford and the Mayfield site in Mid Sussex.

Speaking in Parliament during the second reading of the Finance Bill, he urged the Government to bring forward an exemption to stamp duty for those looking to move to smaller properties.

Andrew Griffith MP with Kirdford Parish Council Chairman Amanda Gillet and Chairman of Kirdford Community Land Trust Councillor Tony Piedade
Andrew Griffith MP with Kirdford Parish Council Chairman Amanda Gillet and Chairman of Kirdford Community Land Trust Councillor Tony Piedade

He argued that stamp duty was a ‘real brake’ on downsizing, preventing older homeowners across the country from moving to more suitable accommodation for their needs and therefore preventing growing families being able to trade up.

He highlighted constituents’ concerns over ‘unsustainable’ development proposals on greenfield sites in West Sussex and observed it was a “fallacy that the only answer is to pile up even more supply” despite the number of homes that remain empty across the whole of the UK.

He said: “Like most, I welcome the extension of the lower rate of stamp duty in this Bill. On a future occasion, I encourage the Government to bring forward an exemption to stamp duty for downsizers.

“With an ageing population, too many homeowners rattle around in accommodation that would be more suitable for growing families.

“Stamp duty is a real brake on downsizing. The Treasury will understandably be cautious about leakage, but it should be perfectly possible to define a downsizing transaction based upon the ratio of values and the limited time interval between the two housing transactions.

“Right now my constituents are blighted by development proposals on unsustainable greenfield sites in Ashington, Adversane, Buck Barn, Kirdford and Mayfield, all based on the fallacy that, despite the UK already having more than 600,000 empty homes and the highest rate of housebuilding since 2007, the only answer is to pile up even more supply.”