Firle Community Housing Launch Day

By Julian Morgan-Jones

September 20, 2019

On Friday 6 September in Firle Village School residents were invited to drop in to hear about an exciting proposal to provide significant additional affordable housing for local people.

Firle Estate with Ringmer Area Community Land Trust (RACLT) has identified apotential site in the village for 14 houses of which 12 will be for rent by those with a close connection to the village.

Firle Village has a particular need to realise accommodation for young families who cannot afford the price of houses in commercial schemes. These young families will be the source of much needed pupils for the primary school and help to ensure Firle remains a sustainable community into the future. In addition, there is a need for suitable housing for older members of the village to move to, whilst remaining close to friends and family.

Firle Estate is generously offering the land for the scheme. It will build 2 or 3 houses for sale on the open market to cross subsidise the building of 6 affordable houses for rent. RACLT will build the other 6 affordable houses, also for rent.

The need for affordable housing in Firle has already been discussed with the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and it has been agreed to enter into a Pre Planning Agreement to lay out the route to gaining the necessary planning approvals. A local firm of architects has been appointed after an invitation to tender and a design scheme is now being developed so that a planning application can be submitted.

The launch day was well attended by local residents, including Lord Gage and Henry Gage, several parish councillors, District Councillors Sharon Davy and

Johnny Denis, as well as our local MP, Maria Caulfield. All are enthusiastic about this new initiative. A number of Firle residents who attended signed up to become members of the RACLT and help to shape the scope of the proposed project, whilst others expressed interest in becoming tenants. Opinions on what types of houses are needed in the village were recorded and will go towards finalising the design brief.Max Pengelley, Chair of the Community Trust said: “This evidence of local support gives us confidence that the project will be successful and the first of several for the people of Firle”.

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