Dozens of council flats to be built on two Brighton sites

Posted On 02 Mar 2016 at 7:51 pm

Two schemes costing about £14 million to build 56 council flats on two sites in Brighton have been agreed.

A six-storey block of 27 flats will be built on the site of Brighton and Hove City Council’s old Moulsecoomb housing office, in Selsfield Drive, which closed two years ago.

And two blocks – three and four storeys high – will include 29 flats on the Wellsbourne site in Whitehawk Road, Whitehawk.

The site was previously used for the EB4U regeneration organisation’s offices and, before that, formed part of the premises of the old Whitehawk Infant School.

Three of the Selsfield Drive flats and three of those in Whitehawk Road will be wheelchair accessible.

The three blocks – approved by the council’s Housing and New Homes Committee this evening (Wednesday 2 March) – will include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats.

Councillor Mary Mears expressed concern about the high cost of the projects and the effect that this would have on the rents charged to tenants.

She said: “The costs are way out of reach of most people on a low income.”

Councillor David Gibson said: “Rents will be double or more than double existing council rents.

“None of these are affordable as defined by housing professionals. No one else is going to try to provide truly affordable housing for people in this city.”

He said that the council should try.

The Greens put forward amendments aimed at lowering the proposed rent levels with a view to funding the schemes over 60 years rather than 40 years.

Councillor Joe Miller said that councillors would be “kicking the can down the road” if they backed the proposal.

“It would be irresponsible of us,” he said, inflicting a housing crisis on a future generation. And he added: “It’s money that could be spent on building other homes.

“We should have more affordable rents but the way to do that should be lowering build costs.”

Councillor Alex Phillips said: “If we genuinely want to provide affordable houses and offer that to everyone including the poorest in our city then we have to start looking at what’s on the table now.”

But Councillor Peter Atkinson said: “We’ve just got to move on with this now.”

He said that councillors could look at other options for future projects.

Councillor Anne Meadows, who chairs the Housing and New Homes Committee, said: “We recognise that there is a huge problem in this city.

“We can disagree about the definition of ‘affordable’ but we are making these homes available at less than 80 per cent of market rents and those tenants will be out of fuel poverty which will help their household incomes.”

The committee backed the plans. Work is expected to start in Whitehawk in September – subject to planning permission – with a view to completion in September next year.

In Selsfield Drive work is scheduled to start in October – also subject to planning permission – and to be completed in October next year.

  1. Tara Reply

    Hope you dont get planning permission. Spend the money on a park for the local children of bates estate, money better spent in my eyes. Think about it none of these children including my own have a garden. And another reason is I dont want my view of the avenue taken away.

  2. Monika Reply

    I hope they won’t get permission too! When we moved here it was a quiet road then they builded health centre and library making our street busier and less friendly for our kids! And now this 28 flats and only 9 parking spaces this will make people park on the street which is busy enough as it is now! Why don’t they build at the far end of the road – there is so much space to provide sufficient and safe parking.

  3. Arthur Pendragon Reply

    Sounds like the Labour administration are increasingly in a hurry to make good their election manifesto promises. Last week they rushed into a deal with the Tories on the budget (Nobody pushed them into it despite their spin on this one.) presumably to try and get it done in one sitting despite having another day pre-booked to finalise the budget and slashing trade union involvement within the council – very New Labour. Good quality social housing is certainly advisable given the scam rates Mears charge for slow repairs and brief call-outs to council properties. However ‘affordable’ means just that! Can those most in need of social housing reasonably afford the rents? Social housing is an investment that pays for itself if done properly.

  4. Arthur Pendragon Reply

    I am also puzzled by the comments of ‘Monika’ above. She seems to think parking is a priority over a Library and a Health centre! The place is bang on the most frequently served bus route in the City with a car-free bus lane and an award winning mandatory cycle lane to boot! I must assume she is a home owner with an eye on increasing property prices?

  5. Monika Reply

    I am not complaining about health centre and library. Glad we have them both so close. Only saying they should consider current residents when they are planning to fit 28 flats in the tiny space left between!
    I’m not after increasing price of my house I just want safe street and neighbourhood for us and the kids.I’m scared to let them play in front of the house now and it will only get worse with at least 20 more cars going up and down the street and parking on the both sides of the road.

  6. Steve wood Reply

    That’s £250k build cost per flat?
    Why so high? Needs to be reviewed.

  7. Daniel Harris (@arrisdan) Reply

    I thought the average 1 bed home costs 60k to build, my god the storage container homes were 25k to retrofit into self contained units. For the £14 million spent they are getting 56 council flats. Ten times less than the 560 storage container homes. This is a rip off and we must have a review of the financial implications. The loss in future rental incomes is massive.

  8. Darren Reply

    It doesn’t cost 60k to build one flat at all. You can build a block of 5 flats with a roof for that. It’s the land that costs and drainage etc . The council are in cahoots with a developer to rinse yet more money… “Affordable”. Why not just build more blocks and stop out of town multi million properties instead ?

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