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Pioneering plan to create hundreds of low-cost homes backed

Released: Friday, 07 June 2019

Working families across Worthing - including those in key professions such as nurses and teachers - could benefit from an innovative way to create more than 150 sustainable, low-cost homes after pioneering plans were backed by councillors.

Worthing Borough Council is looking to enter into an agreement with international residential developer BoKlok UK to deliver up to 162 homes at Fulbeck Avenue in west Worthing.

The company, which has its roots in Sweden and is jointly owned by Skanska and Ikea, creates quality, contemporary homes which are also affordable. BoKlok homes will be priced so that home ownership is more accessible for local working families.

As part of the deal, the Council would be able to retain control of 30% of the units, ensuring it can provide social housing to those on the local waiting list.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, said:

“I very much welcome this innovative proposal from a groundbreaking international firm which could bring real benefits to hundreds of local families.”

“In this current market it's extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work to get on the housing market. This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town.”

“The fact these homes can be built quickly, to a high quality and meet top environmental standards makes this an extremely attractive proposition and I look forward to the Council working closely with BoKlok moving forward.”

An agreement on the decision was made by Adur & Worthing Councils' Joint Strategic Committee at a meeting this week (Tuesday 4th June 2019).

Councillors heard how the land west of Fulbeck Avenue, which borders the new West Durrington estate, has been identified as a potential site for housing for a number of years.

Initial analysis indicated it could provide 45 homes using a traditional design approach with 13 classed as affordable.

But with the average house price in the town being 11 times that of the average salary (compared to eight times in the rest of the UK), councillors were recommended another approach.

The report outlined how an agreement with BoKlok UK could treble the number of homes on the site, while providing local families in Worthing more affordable options for homes to rent and buy.

Councillors were also informed the modular homes are created out of high-quality, sustainably sourced materials, meet top environmental standards and are constructed quickly on site.

In return for entering into an agreement to build on the local authority land, Worthing Borough Council would receive 30% of the completed new homes rather than a capital receipt.

The report also recommended that Worthing Borough Council agree to work in collaboration with BoKlok to develop a wider programme to deliver 500 new homes for Worthing residents.

After being backed by senior councillors, a steering group is set to be established to guide the proposal forward. The first homes could be occupied within two years.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Customer Services, which includes housing, said:

“Providing good-quality affordable housing is a perennial problem across the south east but it is one that as a Council we will continue to find creative ways to address.”

“This innovative proposal ticks so many boxes and would help us provide much-needed good-quality housing to hundreds of hard-working families. I look forward to seeing the plans progress in the coming months.”

Photo: Artists' impression of the homes

PR19-091 - Airport Road CGI image

(PR19-091)

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