Council look to house families

9/1/14- Rye.  Rye Town Hall ENGSUS00120140901124527
9/1/14- Rye. Rye Town Hall ENGSUS00120140901124527

Rye Town Council is pushing ahead with plans to purchase two local properties to be let at affordable rent to local families.

The plan was the idea of Rye Deputy Mayor Jonathan Breeds who was concerned that young families were being priced out of the area.

He had said: “Many you people find themselves moving to places like Hastings because they cannot find anywhere affordable to stay in Rye.”

The council confirmed its intention to acquire at least two properties within the parish, to let to families, when it met on Monday of this week.

There may be some obstacles to navigate first as Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall identified that the purchase and refurbishment of the two buy-to lets could push the council over its £7,500 limit to reclaim VAT.

The Clerk presented a lengthy document to councillors, looking at ways of avoiding falling foul of this and was thanked for his hard work.

An idea by Cllr Rebekah Gilbert that the council could set up a separate trading company to buy the properties was dismissed as the clerk pointed out the Government has indicated it is cracking down on such measures.

Cllr Jonathan Breeds said: “ I still think there is a need for this in Rye, perhaps even a growing need. I am very much in favour of it.”

Rye Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “This is a huge move for us to take and it is important we go step by step and get it right.”

Cllr Michael Boyd suggested that the working group meets as soon as possible to “thrash out any uncertainties.”

The council were told, in a briefing paper, that the new homes would meet a social and economic need for younger Rye families, allowing them to remain in the parish.

The Town Council will have full control over the eligibility criteria of tenants.

It has said that three bed properties have a greater flexibility over two bed and that tenants are likely to have young children so a back garden, or safe outdoor space, is desirable.

Rent is considered to be affordable if it is 80 percent, or less, than the market rent for an area.

The council has also been carrying out work on the Town Hall Cottage, which it owns, in order to rent it out.

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