Asked to explain the criteria for selection of future residential tenants at the OB, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures director James Leathers told HIP that design plans are far from finalised and that the company’s policy “may evolve”. However, at this stage they envisage applying the same principles as used at Rock House residential flats and 39 Cambridge Road as follows: 

“Our applications request evidence of a required local connection to Hastings Borough and of housing need, to which we apply a rank. We also ask for people to support a co-housing ethos and to illustrate how they might contribute to that ethos.

“On top of this we consider what scope there is to target property at a particular need. The constraints of space may in fact be an opportunity to provide flats that accommodate a live-in carer for someone with this need, who wants to live integrated with their neighbours rather than in isolating, and hence unsuitable, accommodation.

“Through our partnership with Project Art Works, who champion the integration of the neuro-diverse and neuro-typical, we have become aware of this often over-looked need. If developers were compelled to provide 2% of such accommodation, then the need in East Sussex to renew suitable accommodation could be met. We planned for more in Ore Valley and if we achieved 1/16 at the OB this would be 6.25%. But we are still designing and considering.”

With regard to capping of rents Mr Leathers says that two measures are applied:

“1) Living Rent, where rent is set to a third of the Hastings median wage and rises thereafter by inflation only;

2) Local Housing Allowance, where rent is set to the Hastings LHA with the effect that should someone become dependent on Housing Benefit/Universal Credit because that person has particular circumstances or needs (disability, mental health issue, recovering from dependency) or is likely to experience intermittent employment – perhaps the single most influential barrier to stable tenure in Hastings – the benefit will cover the rent and there is no shortfall.”

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