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Focus on Five: Genuinely Affordable Housing and Social Rental

Hugo Pound, Cabinet member for Housing and Planning. I am a Labour Councillor for Sherwood ward, first elected in 2019 and again this year. With colleagues on the council, I try to set the direction and priorities for housing and planning policy for the borough.

For everyone in the borough to flourish in healthy, welcoming, well-supported environments, we need to ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to meet the needs of existing and future generations – schools, recreation spaces, surgeries, transport links, leisure, retail and business units all easily accessible for all. We also need more housing for those growing up in the borough and those moving into it. It is development that largely pays for infrastructure. If we want the borough to flourish and the residents within it to feel really happy to be here, we need good planning, good housing, good infrastructure in all the right places. Housing and Planning are rightly one of our Focus on Five; they are fundamental to our future happiness.

Simply put, if we plan well for the future, residents across the borough will say, “This is the best place I’ve ever lived”. Currently, too many young people cannot afford to stay in the borough and too few people can afford to move into the borough, either. We are the only borough in Kent whose 25-49 year old population is going down! So, the aim is to generate good employment opportunities, good leisure and entertainment facilities, great open spaces, housing with gardens and access to services and amenities, rentable flats in our towns, good transport links for all. It’s a long journey but well-worth the effort if we get it right.

Good housing and good planning will help everyone to thrive; new developments across the borough generate not only new housing but, through developer contributions, the money needed for new schools, GP surgeries, sports fields, libraries, transport links, culture and sport. The aim: residents say, “It’s the best place I’ve ever lived”.

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