As many Westfield residents are aware, in March this year the sale of Westfield Down took place. As far as the Parish Council were aware this was being sold to Court Development to deliver 39 houses, in an agreed mix of 60% Open Market and 40% Shared Ownership and Rental – “to create a stable community”.
The Parish Council was then informed via a report to Council by Cllr Vine Hall stating that in fact Optivo Housing (a Housing Association social housing provider) had acquired the site which would now be “100% affordable homes but some may be shared ownership or starter homes.”
No-one on Westfield Parish Council was aware of the ‘back to back’ sale of Westfield Down from Court Development to Optivo and the consequent proposed change of housing mix. Despite discussions with Court Developments, there had been no indication that Optivo were taking more than the 40% affordable allocation. We had not been consulted or involved in anyway, other than to confirm our support for the recreational area via a planning condition known as a S106, which covered the transfer of the football pitch, changing rooms and recreational area to the Parish.
The Parish Council is now looking to Officers at Rother and Optivo to explain why the Parish Council were not engaged or informed about the involvement of Optivo and the intention to turn this site from 40% affordable homes to 100%. We have asked for a meeting with the Chief Executive of Rother District Council and Optivo to understand why they were not transparent of their intentions to the Parish Council and residents of the Parish. We currently do not have a date confirmed for this meeting.
We do ask that all residents behave in a legal and cordial manner to those on site. It does not reflect well on the Parish to hear of damage to the site or about the verbal abuse given to the workers. We do not deny this is an emotive subject but ask that people remain calm and civil. This subject will be a key agenda item at our next full council meeting on the 12th May. In the meantime, the Parish Council has formed a working group to try and establish the facts and to answer questions residents may have. We are in the process of setting up a Q & A page on our website here.
If residents have any comments or questions please send these to the Parish Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask that you state if you are happy for your comment/question to be made public. Please note we will never publish your name unless you give us written permission to do so.
Please note the Clerk only works part-time and will reply to your query as soon as they can.