Church says scheme designed to deliver on promises to help tackle housing crisis

The investment arm of the Church of England has submitted plans for a 2,200-home mixed use development in Bersted, West Sussex, as the Church looks to deliver against its plans to help tackle the housing crisis.

Aerial perspective - Church Commissioners project at Barnham in West Sussex

The Church Commissioners are also trying to build 3,000 homes at Barnham

The Church Commissioners for England has worked with land promoter Landlink Estates on the plans for the allocated site in Arun’s local plan, which is earmarked to deliver around 750 affordable homes.

In addition, the submitted plans, drawn up by architect Scott Brownrigg, include proposals for an employment hub and significant social infrastructure which the Church Commissioners said would create a “thriving new rural community”. The Church Commissioners has already submitted plans for a neighbouring 3,000-home scheme at Barnham it says exemplifies its commitment to housing supply and ecological enhancements.

The submission for the 144-hectare scheme on agricultural land comes a little over 18 months after the launch of the the Church of England’s “Coming Home” report, which proposed using surplus CofE land to build up to 30,000 homes.

>> See also Church of England embarks on its affordable housing mission

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Bishop of Chelmsford Guli Francis-Dehqani

Guli Francis-Dehqani, the CofE’s bishop for housing

In the summer the Church announced it was planning to set up a major housing association to further “challenge and disrupt” the housing market, in order to help people in housing need. The moved was announced by Guli Francis-Dehqani, bishop of Chelmsford, who last April also became the church’s first ever bishop for housing.

The Church Commissioners commercially manages a £10bn investment fund on behalf of the C of E in order to fund its activities, but is tasked to do so in an ehtical way that supports the Church’s mission.

John Weir, head of real estate at Church Commissioners for England, said the scheme allowed the body to delivering high-quality homes to support the economic and social development of local communities. He said: “Front and centre of the Church’s commitments in the Coming Home report is the creation of healthy and vibrant housing, providing homes which are safe, sustainable and satisfying, and where residents feel able to put down roots for the future.

“This scheme supports a range of different housing needs and will make a positive contribution to the Bersted area.”