Developers East Sussex minutes: 18 July 2023
Date: 18 July 2023
Location: Microsoft Teams
See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.
1. Welcome and introductions
- JB welcomed the group to the meeting.
2. Review of previous minutes, 9 May 2023
The minutes were approved as an accurate record of the meeting.
There were no actions from the previous meeting.
3. Market conditions / open forum
The group had their usual catch-up on how members see the current state of the market and any new/ongoing concerns, such as interest rates etc.
CM confirmed that the price of commodities is still high. On the other hand, the sub-contractor market is in a reasonable place and the supply of materials is better than it was.
The main issue has been the change to the sales market due to the hike in interest rates and its impact on mortgages, particularly within the last month. This has resulted in a fall in demand, especially in the south. Redrow has announced the closure of two regional offices in Crawley and Thames Valley.
From a commercial point of view, BP confirmed that demand is still high. However, there is a need for further discourse which incorporates both housing and commercial development as these sectors are intrinsically linked. JB also suggested that there is a lack of flexibility and choice for commercial developers looking for opportunities.
4. Affordable Housing / Section 106
Overall, there is a lot of uncertainty in the market. This has been borne out by a reduction in output/production levels and many businesses have reorientated to deliver more affordable housing.
IS mentioned that shared ownership properties are selling well, but there is less demand than previously. The rise in interest rates means that maintenance costs for Housing Associations are higher, which has significantly reduced the capacity for newbuild development.
Historically, the business cycle for Registered Providers (RPs) has been countercyclical in market downturns. However, without a changed approach from Homes England this means that affordable housing is not being built. In addition, reduced RP interest in S106 sites means that affordable homes near completion cannot be delivered. HF indicated that RPs are looking to deliver their own land-led deals and that there is a growing gap they are not able to fill.
In general, the multiplier effects associated with a reduction in house building are considered to have an adverse impact on the macro-economy.
SR indicated that Wealden District Council is eager to provide affordable housing on sites, and that they would prefer legal agreements which are agile and provide flexibility.
MC and BH suggested that the role of DES and the East Sussex Housing Partnership is to facilitate cross-sector collaboration between partners including Homes England. RT indicated that the issues raised by DES colleagues would be fed back to DLUHC.ACTION - DES colleagues to flag their concerns around Affordable Housing with BH so they can be raised with DLUHC and Homes England as part of the aims of the wider partnership.
5. East Sussex Housing Strategy
MC provided an overview of the East Sussex Housing Partnership, whose aim is to become the voice of housing in East Sussex. This includes setting a medium- and long-term vision for the sector, as well as a framework for cross-sector working and collaboration. Priorities for 2023/24 include:
- Developing a place-based Housing Strategy;
- Social Housing (Regulation) Bill;
- Building Compliance;
- Housing, heath and social care integration;
- Decarbonisation of Housing Stock;
- Migration Services.
JPo provided an overview of the Development and Enablement Group, which aims to increase levels of development through improved collaboration between local authority development leads and other key partners (including DES, SPACES, Planning Policy, Development Control, Estates and Government agencies such as Homes England). In particular, the Group aims to maximise the supply of affordable housing tenures across East Sussex through new development and the repurposing of existing assets.
JPo is eager to strengthen links with DES and would like to understand any additional priorities that the partnership should consider.ACTION - DES colleagues to contact JPo or MC with any further suggestions for the East Sussex Housing Partnership and the Development and Enablement Group.
- The East Sussex Housing Conference will be held on 10 November 2023.
6. DLUHC / Homes England engagement
- JH provided a brief overview of the strategic plan for 2023-2028, which focus is on new supply and regeneration. In addition, changes to the existing rural housing programme allow for estate regeneration to be funded through the programme.
7. Local Planning Authority (LPA) updates
SR mentioned that Wealden DC is working on the next iteration of its Local Plan. It is anticipated that a Regulation 18 Local Plan with allocations will be published in late autumn. In addition, drainage was highlighted as an ongoing issue at Planning Committee under the new alliance. Members want assurances, rather than relying on planning conditions, that there is genuine collaboration with Southern Water.
JPo confirmed that Rother District Council is also in the process of progressing their Local Plan to Regulation 18 stage, which is intended to go to Cabinet at the start of next year.
8. AOB (any other business)
The annual DES Leaders Dinner will be held on 27 September 2023.
The next virtual DES meeting will take place on 12 September 2023 at 2pm.
Summary of actions
4.6 - DES colleagues to flag their concerns around Affordable Housing with BH so they can be raised with DLUHC and Homes England as part of the aims of the wider partnership.
5.3 - DES colleagues to contact JPo or MC with any further suggestions for the East Sussex Housing Partnership and the Development and Enablement Group.
Attendees and apologies
- BB, Beverley Bayliss, East Sussex CC
- BH, Brian Horton, SELEP
- BP, Brett Pearson, Locate East Sussex
- CB, Chris Broome, Sea Change Sussex
- CM, Chris Moore, Bellway Homes
- DG, Derek Godfrey, Derek Godfrey Consulting
- DM, David Martin, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- DT, David Tatterton, UK Land Investors
- ED, Emma Davies, Redloft
- ES, Edward Sheath, East Sussex CC
- GF, Gemma Forshaw, Wealden DC
- GH, Gary Hall, Eastbourne BC / Lewes DC
- HF, Hayley Frankham, Wealden DC
- IS, Ian Scott, Town & Country Housing Group
- JB, Jonathan Buckwell (CHAIR), DHA Planning
- JC, Janan Clatworthy, Countryside Partnerships
- JH, Josh Hemmings, Homes England
- JL, John Longhorn, Vistry Homes
- JM, Joshua Mellor, Stantec
- JPw, Joe Powell, Rother DC
- JPy, Jeff Pyrah, Rother DC
- JR, Jason Roberts, Wealden DC
- KB, Kim Bloxham, East Sussex CC
- KC, Kirsty Castle, Batcheller Monkhouse
- LD, Lee Davies, HNW Architects
- LME, Lourdes Madigasekera-Elliott, East Sussex CC
- LP, Leigh Palmer, Eastbourne BC / Lewes DC
- LS, Lauren Sinden, DHA Planning
- MB, Mark Bewsey, DHA Planning
- MC, Michael Courts, East Sussex CC
- NF, Nick Fenton, Nick Fenton Associates
- PC, Peter Coldbreath, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- PN, Phillip Naylor, RH Partnership Architects
- RT, Ryan Trodden, DLUHC
- SR, Stacey Robins, Wealden DC
- TH, Tim Hardwicke, Stiles Harold Williams Partnership
- VC, Victoria Conheady, Hastings BC
- DE, Dave Evans, East Sussex CC
- EP, Erica Peck, Rydon Homes
- ET, Ed Tibbetts, Orbit Homes
- MT, Mat Trewin, Willmott Dixon Construction
- PT, Paul Thomas, Development Land Services Ltd / SELEP
- RE, Rachel Evans, East Sussex CC
- RM, Ravail Marwaha, Taylor Wimpey
- RW, Richard White, Southern Housing