Many people across the country are finding it difficult to keep their family together and remain living in their local community due to property prices increasing faster than incomes. Young adults and growing families often have to move away from their home town or remain in the family home for longer. Westbourne is no different; the average house price in the village prevents people, who have grown up here, buying or renting locally. Also there is a stigma associated with registering for housing support and young people often continue living with parents or friends when they need a home of their own. This hides the true extent of the need for local affordable homes.
A group of local residents want to do something about this problem. In November 2018 they formed a new community organisation to be known as Westbourne Community Trust. This Trust has the support of Chichester District Council and Westbourne Parish Council as well as other national agencies, but it is an independent community-led organisation. The Trust aims to provide housing in Westbourne for local people that cannot afford market prices. We want to ensure that the children of existing residents and their children will find it easier to secure good quality houses that they can afford within the village. In addition to the Trust’s aims for local affordable housing it is working on a range of community projects that will improve the quality of life for all residents of Westbourne. For example we have projects in mind for improving the village Square, improving parking provision, introducing traffic calming to deter through traffic and reduce traffic speed, supporting local businesses and improving community services and meeting places.
The Trust is a non-profit, organisation and any homes delivered will be kept in community ownership and would remain available and affordable for future generations. The great thing about this model is that any income generated will be recirculated within our local community to deliver further local affordable housing or other community projects that improve the village.
When the Parish Council prepared the Neighbourhood Plan it was clear from the research that there was a need for more affordable homes in the Parish, but there was also a lack of suitable sites or organisations to provide them. This need for affordable homes was also confirmed when Chichester District Council recently carried out a Housing Needs Survey of all residents in the Parish in October 2018. With all this in mind the Westbourne Community Trust has been formed and are working to deliver its first affordable housing development.
The process for developing an affordable housing scheme like this has many stages and milestones along the way and Westbourne Trust looks to engage the community throughout. We will achieve this through this website, popup consultations and our Facebook page. Below is a list to some of these stages and we will link through to further pages as we progress.
- Identifying a site – current stage.
- Assess the viability and feasibility of the scheme
- Engage architects
- Apply for planning permission
- Contract builders