Cabinet councillor: ‘catastrophic impact of the government’s mini budget’ puts council homes in doubt

A new development of council homes on the site of the former fire station in Newhaven is on hold after councillors were forced to review the business case for the scheme following the ‘catastrophic impact of the government’s mini budget’.

Plans for six three-bedroom homes include a long list of sustainability features that help reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, but the unprecedented economic conditions have put the future of affordable homes built by the council in serious doubt.

Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing at Lewes District Council, said: “The catastrophic impact of the government’s mini budget has potentially derailed a superb development of new homes that local people are desperate for.

“We are very proud to be a council that builds high quality homes for its residents and we will continue to make it a top priority despite the economic disaster unfolding around us.”  

The fire station site would be the second council development in Newhaven in recent times. While the purchase of this site will go ahead, the development will remain under review.

Councillor James MacCleary, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “Let’s be clear here. We have a really good plan here to build high quality, sustainable new homes for local people on our waiting list and we are unable to proceed due to rocketing costs that are the direct result of government incompetence.

“Every imaginable cost has gone up including the cost of borrowing. I know that all of my colleagues are committed to seeing this scheme built when the costs are more manageable.”

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council, added: “We know that residents want to see disused brownfield sites like this redeveloped to reduce pressure to build on green fields. Brownfield sites are much more expensive to develop, but the government provides practically no support to incentivise their development ahead of cheaper greenfield options. This is even more serious when their mismanagement of the economy has led to sky high inflation.

“Instead we have top-down housing targets that take no account of local circumstances. The government’s mini budget has blighted our economy and our plan to build these fantastic new homes is one of many casualties.”