A property firm is to pay £1.2 million rather than build eight “affordable” homes at a site in Hove where it is putting up 47 flats.
The money will be paid by Crest Nicholson to Brighton and Hove City Council after the council’s Planning Committee backed a deal this afternoon (Wednesday 14 December).
Crest has planning permission to build a block of 47 flats in Davigdor Road, Hove, which it is marketing as “Artisan” in “the desirable Seven Dials area of Hove”.
The “luxury one, two and three-bedroom apartments in vibrant Hove” are described as perfect “as an investment opportunity”.
But Crest said that the eight-storey block wouldn’t be viable if the company had to include affordable homes.
It said that it had been unable to find a housing association to manage the six rented flats and the two which were to be sold as part of a shared ownership scheme.
Money appears to have been the sticking point, with Crest wanting more than any housing association deemed realistic.
Yet Hyde Housing has planning permission for an eight-storey block on the site next door where 27 of the 68 flats are to be classed as affordable homes.
He said: “It concerns me as a possible precedent. Nothing we have seen has relieved my concern.”
The Crest building will go up on the site which was until recently occupied by the Happy Cell – a fitness studio – and 26 rooms let for emergency accommodation.
Housing regeneration manager Sam Smith said that the money would help support the council’s New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme.
Mr Smith said that the council had a government-imposed borrowing cap which prevented it building homes as quickly as it would like.
With hopes of building 500 homes, Mr Smith added: “The future of the scheme will rely on alternative forms of funding to bring schemes forward.
“Any commuted sums could well be used to bring these schemes forward and that would be additional because we don’t have enough funds to bring all these schemes forward.”
Councillor Clare Moonan pointed out that the money from Crest would pay for more affordable homes than Crest had planned to build.
Crest Nicholson is also working with the council on plans to redevelop the King Alfred Leisure Centre site with hundreds of homes planned for the Hove seafront site as part of the scheme.