Agenda item

Public Question Time

So as to provide the best opportunity for the Committee to provide the public with the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by midday on Thursday 1 September 2022.


Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.


Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services –


(Note:  Public Question Time will last for a maximum of 30 minutes)


There was one question raised under Public Question Time.


Christine Gunter asked -


Recent research by Rightmove shows Adur to be the least affordable place in the UK for first time buyers.

First time buyers will struggle in Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing where salaries are being outpaced by strong house growth.

The average asking price for a first time buyer’s home in Adur is now 11.6 times the average local salary whereas the national figure is 7.2 of the average local salary.

This is a truly shocking and for most an unattainable figure.

Therefore what help will the majority of developments along the A259 and Old Shoreham Road – highly priced and some marketed as second homes- going to be for local first time buyers.?


Head of Planning and Development, James Appleton answered -


This is an important matter for many councils in the SE and there is a similar situation in Worthing in terms of the affordability gap between average earnings and the average house prices. The key issue for many councils, particularly along the coast, is the lack of land, which has meant that Adur, in promoting its Local Plan in 2017, was not able to meet its objectively assessed future housing needs. The Local Plan Inspector back in 2017 made it clear that any allocation of sites should be minimum with an expectation to look at maximising the ability to bring forward housing on brownfield sites and on allocated sites and, through the actions of the Planning Committee, trying to ensure wherever possible the delivery of the Local Plan policy compliant 30% affordable housing.


The main issue is that many of our residents cannot afford rented accommodation let alone afford a deposit for a house or apartment.  However, it is not just through the planning process that additional affordable housing can be provided.  We have been very fortunate that Registered Providers like Hyde and Southern Housing have purchased sites and are using Government funding to provide more social rent and shared ownership properties than required by adopted Local Plan policies. The Council’s intended disposal of the Civic Centre site is to Hyde Housing will deliver all 150 apartments as affordable homes on the site (60% of the dwellings would be shared ownership and 40% social rent). Similarly, the Kingston Wharf site will be delivering 255 affordable dwellings.


These shared ownership properties will give the ability to people to get a foot on the housing ladder whilst the social rent apartments will reduce the Council's Housing waiting lists helping to meet those in greatest housing need.


There are a number of things therefore that the Council can and is doing to address the affordability gap.  In addition, the Council is looking to redevelop its own land to bring forward additional Council housing and we have various developments being built at the moment at Albion Street, Cecil Norris and at Mash Barn, Lancing. 


We are also reviewing the 2017 Local Plan and we will be looking at the scope to increase the supply of new housing despite the constraints of a lack of land. Government is committed to delivering new housing and its planning policies are weighted in favour of more sustainable, higher density development to try and deliver the 300,000 homes needed to tackle the national housing shortage.


Christine Gunter asked a supplementary question -


Do any of those plans include restrictions on properties being bought as second homes?


Head of Planning and Development, James Appleton answered -


Not currently. However, this is an issue that is being looked at nationally. A number of councils have tried and failed to do this and it is difficult to restrict how land and property is sold.  This of course is not an issue for the affordable rented homes I have mentioned earlier as these will be restricted to local residents in Adur. 


The Chair used her discretion to allow a question from a member of the gallery that had not been submitted beforehand.


The gentleman asked -


This question relates to consultations. A recent consultation was held regarding a planning application. At this event a resident asked a representative of the developer why no one from the council was present there. Please could officers explain why this was the case?


Head of Planning and Development, James Appleton answered -


The Council generally encourages applicants to consult with communities at a pre-application stage.  In this case this was an event organised by the Developer to explain how the proposals have evolved during the planning process to address comments raised by the public and planning officers.  If Officers were specifically invited, they would have to make it clear to those present that it was a developer consultation and fell outside any formal consultation process run by the planning department.