This afternoon (Monday 18th May) I was honoured to speak at the opening of the two houses I mentioned in an earlier post.
The homes in Lambert Place, Lewes, have been developed by Brighton-based KSD Housing in partnership with Lewes District Council. The land has been provided by the Council, KSD is supplying the homes, and there is a 25 year lease agreement based on 100% nomination rights to the Council.
The development is debt free and requires no grant or bank finance. KSD and Lewes DC each own 50% of the project.
But the most amazing part is the rents will be just £95 per week.
Ozay Ali from the KSD Housing said: “These homes in Lambert Place are the future for affordable housing. These houses will be for two local families in need of homes with rents that they can afford. These homes are sustainable and eco-friendly, meeting a minimum Code Level 4, Sustainable Code for Housing. The light gauge steel construction uses 95% materials which are recyclable and the construction costs are 30% to 50% lower than traditional methods of construction. Both houses meet lifetime homes standards and all of the design codes that are required.”
Cllr Rob Blackman, Leader of Lewes District Council who was not able to be present, said of the scheme: “I’m delighted to be the national lead on this scheme. Local authorities need to act quickly – using innovation & partnership to close the on affordable housing. LDC have approached with a great offer – I invite Councils up and down the Country to come and see the houses, It’s time to stop talking about the housing crisis and get on and deliver housing”.
At the opening I said: “Nothing in housing has excited me as much in recent years as this development. The standard of the accommodation is much better than you will find in most social housing, and the rents are incredibly low for the south east. In addition to the amazing rent levels, these homes can be built in a fraction of the time of ordinary developments. It takes between six and 10 weeks to build a two bed house like this.
“If I was a local councillor elsewhere in Sussex and my officers were not kicking down the door of KSD inviting them into their area, I would question whether the officers were doing their job.
“I take my hat off and applaud both Lewes District Council and KSD. I think we might just be seeing the start of a revolution in housing supply in Lambert Place, Lewes.”
Michael Gilhooly, Chief Operating Officer, KSD Group, added: “The demand for affordable housing has never been so big. We are therefore delighted that this pilot development has been received so well. It has been a truly collaborative effort with Lewes District Council and all the KSD Group of Companies and a real example of public and private sectors working together to make a positive impact on people quality of life.”
Before the general election, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt. Hon. Ian Duncan-Smith visited the homes. He was accompanied by Maria Caulfield, now the Member of Parliament for Lewes and a member of the BHT Board.
After her visit, Maria Caulfield commented: “Lack of affordable housing in Lewes is an issue for many people and having developments like this taking place on brownfield sites is an excellent idea. It means we have new affordable quickly available housing for local people.”