Residents are invited to have their say on proposals to develop affordable housing on some of the land at the rear of properties 30-56 on Mill Road in Westbourne at drop-in events at The Meeting Place, North Street, Westbourne on:
- Friday 8 February 2019 at 6pm to 8.30pm
- Saturday 9 February 2019 at 9am to 12pm.
Information will be available about the Westbourne Community Trust (WCT) and its aims of developing much needed affordable housing for local people in Westbourne, as well as a variety of new community projects for the village.
Frank Campbell, Chair of the Trust, said: “There is a shortage of affordable housing in Westbourne, and many young people and families who grew up here are increasingly forced to leave to find a home they can afford. Until the Trust was formed in late 2018, there were no proposals to do anything about it. Private sector housing is out of reach for many people and there are no sites coming forward to deliver affordable housing solutions. We, as volunteers, who saw the opportunity to set up a community land trust and felt we would be failing our community by not taking action.
“The lack of suitable sites in Westbourne means we have to consider land owned by Chichester District Council at Mill Road. The land is enjoyed by many local residents as a much-loved community asset and the Trust has no intention of changing that. We would like to secure the land by bringing it into community ownership, build 10-12 houses that would be owned by the community for local people, retain as much open space as possible, and refurbish and improve the existing play equipment and facilities.
“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the WCT, its aims and objectives and plans for Mill Road with residents and invite you to join us”.
At its meeting on 8 January 2019, the District Council decided that the land it owns at Mill Road, and leases to Westbourne Parish Council, is surplus to requirements and to sell it to the WCT. No land would change hands until planning proposals are developed in full consultation and only when planning permission has been granted.
A housing need survey, carried out by Chichester District Council in October 2018, shows the problem of affordable housing for young people and families in Westbourne was much worse than previously thought. The survey identified that 53 people or family groups were in need of a new home and of those 45 could not afford to buy or rent a home on the open market. This situation leads to young people leaving Westbourne creating a less balanced local community.
The WCT is an independent, community-led not for profit organisation funded by the Government and supported by Chichester District Council. Residents can join for just £1. For more information, and how to become a member, go to www.westbournecommunitytrust.org