Peasmarsh Neighbourhood Development Plan 2021-39

Working Together for Development

As explained in the Introduction to Neighbourhood Development Plans, what an NDP does not do is allow a neighbourhood to block all developments, we have to accept that some development in Peasmarsh is essential. That makes sense for two reasons :

  • imagine if every neighbourhood in the country blocked future development, there just wouldn't be any new dwellings built ...
  • we need some housing development in Peasmarsh, if only for our own children ...

What we need to agree is where future development will be and what form it will take.

When land between Main Street and School Lane was under consideration for development the Parish Council and some residents identified the issues with the site and proposed alternatives but, because we didn't have an NDP in place, Rother could over-ride the objections and dismissed the alternative sites. We do have the advantage of having the reasons why those other sites were dismissed so we will be able to propose sites with justifications in the future.

As discussed on the 'Neighbourhood' page, before calling for potential development sites, we need to agree where we want the focus of the village to be in the longer term and what special allocations we want to make such as a doctor's surgery or a larger primary school. The Initial Public Survey was part of that process.

What emerged clearly from that survey was that we want affordable housing for people with local connections. A 'Community Land Trust' - a special sort of housing association - is a way of achieving that :

Peasmarsh Community Land Trust

Before discussing Community-Led Housing and the Trust, it is worth reviewing some of the data found about Peasmarsh from various government and quango sources :

  • Rother is the least affordable district to buy property in East Sussex and has the 9th highest 'affordability ratio' in S.E England;
  • an area's affordability ratio is the ratio of the average house price to the average working household income : in Rother it is 12.8;
  • the average house price in Peasmarsh is £479,000 and the average working household income is £29,100/annum : a ratio of 16.5; perhaps it should be renamed the unaffordability ratio;
  • developers are required to offer affordable houses at 80% of market value but that still means a Peasmarsh affordability ratio of 13.2 - and not many affordable houses are required of developers;

The local rental market is even more difficult.

We know that local people are looking for starter and smaller [step down] housing but the 2011 census showed that the majority of homes in the parish are 3 or 4 bedroom and developers are predominantly building larger homes. We also know that local people on the housing register are not being offered homes in Peasmarsh.

What, then, is Community-Led Housing? It is a way for local communities to provide their own affordable homes. It is often designed to help certain groups such as young people or families or older people or local workers. The housing can be rented to local people at affordable rates or sold with higher levels of discount than the 20% offered by developers. Both shared ownership and self-build are possible. [Shared ownership is where you buy what portion of the house you can afford to buy and rent the rest so that you benefit from your part of the house price increase over the years.] Community-Led Housing is also often eco-friendly and sustainable.

Community Land Trusts are one type of Community-Led Housing. They are independent, not for profit, organisations which are self-managed for the benefit of the community through democratic and open governance. They principally provide ‘affordable’ housing. They can benefit present and future generations by :

  • buying/owning/managing land and property;
  • creating assets to generate income;
  • re-investing surpluses locally
  • invest in homes, workspace, green assets, renewable energy;

The diagram below shows the whole process of creating and running a CLT :


We are clearly at the earliest stage here in Peasmarsh but the feedback from the survey and meetings has been very positive.

It should be noted that there is a lot of help available to us - at national, county and district levels - in progressing the development of our own land trust, not least from the parishes who already have a CLT :