A councillor has said a bid for 230 new flats will not help with Crawley’s lack of affordable housing.
Sutherland House Crawley LLP plans to convert offices in the eastern section of Sutherland House, Russell Way, Three Bridges, into flats.
Its applications to Crawley Borough Council were made under permitted development rights (PDR).
Cllr Peter Smith, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said the plans could help address Crawley’s needs for ‘additional’ homes but added: “There is no requirement to provide any form of affordable housing in a permitted development and so this will do nothing to help solve the problems of Crawley’s waiting lists.
“This problem worsens as the government prevents Crawley Council from providing genuinely affordable homes for Crawley people via policies like permitted development.”
He raised concerns over the loss of employment land. The five-storey building is located in a ‘Main Employment Area’ in the council’s Local Plan 2030.
Cllr Smith said: “We are concerned at the loss of this site for employment purposes given that we also have both an acute and a chronic shortage of land for employment in Crawley.
“Crawley residents need jobs as well as somewhere to live and we need to continue to encourage businesses to come to Crawley to provide these jobs. We already have pent-up demand in the system due to lack of sites and regret the loss of this site.”
The bid was one of three options submitted to the council. The others were for 25 one-bed, 50 two-bed and 25 three-bed flats or 126 studio flats and 54 two-bed flats.
The Government introduced PDR in 2013. PDR applications do not need planning permission. Business leaders said they were pushing businesses out of Crawley.
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