Council approaches landmark target on new homes turning around ‘many years of underspend’

Councillor William Meyer

A Cabinet councillor has praised the council’s ‘fantastic progress’ on delivering new affordable homes across Lewes district over the last three years since the Co-operative Alliance was launched. 

There are currently 189 affordable housing projects in the pipeline – a combination of completed homes, schemes in construction, projects at the pre-build stage and developments being advanced – nearing a target figure of 200. 

However, Councillor William Meyer, Cabinet Member for Housing, said there is much more work to be done to alleviate the huge demands on the Housing Waiting List and has called on the government to provide extra funding support. 

“From the outset, this administration made new homes a top priority and I am incredibly proud of the fantastic progress made by council officers to deliver these in such a short space of time, turning around many years of underspend on housing in Lewes district," he said.

“But this is not the end of the story. We are frustrated by government not giving us the proper financial tools to build more homes and offer locally affordable rents. 

“Meanwhile, the council’s social housing stock continues to reduce as a result of the government Right to Buy (RTB) scheme and the money we receive through this scheme does not cover anywhere near the whole cost of replacing those that have been bought. Councils cannot do this alone – we need the government’s support.” 

All homes are made as sustainable as possible, within budget constraints, with modern methods of construction favoured such as modular, using new renewable technologies, and a focus on insulation, heating and cooling. 

They are being created across the entire district including villages and rural areas – with new homes in Plumpton and Chailey, for example, becoming the first new council properties in these areas for decades. 

Councillor Meyer added: “While we continue to focus our efforts on increasing the supply of affordable home in Lewes district to meet the needs of residents, it is important to note our limitations due to the unprecedented challenges facing the construction industry and the need for government funding.” 

Cabinet also endorsed the formation of a new Affordable Homes Design Standard to consolidate sustainable development practices for all future council homes.