Garages to be demolished and replaced by homes or parking spaces

Posted On 15 Mar 2017 at 5:54 pm

Thirteen council-owned garages are to be demolished and replaced either with housing or on-street parking spaces.

Twelve of the garages are at the end of Dunster Close, in Hollingdean, and one is in Knoll Close, Hangleton.

They were described in a report as “low-demand and unviable garages which are uneconomical to bring up to modern standards”.

Their demolition was agreed members of Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon (Wednesday 15 March) in a meeting at Hove Town Hall.

The council’s Housing and New Homes Committee will be presented with a report on the options at its next meeting in June.

The report to the committee also said that, after a comprehensive review of all sites last year, a strategy for garages and car parks owned through the council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) would be brought before the committee later this year.

Former council leader Mary Mears said that when the Conservatives were running the council in 2010 it brought forward a full report on the prospect of using garage sites for housing.

Councillor Mears said: “Now we’re talking about a further review. There must be somewhere in this council a warehouse where we store policies and strategies. This has been going on for seven years.

Knoll Close

“We know where the sites are. They’ve been identified for many years. We can’t keep writing about and reading about it. We really need to be moving forward.”

She said that there was a housing crisis and she hoped that the council was not going to be given “another long-winded strategy report”.

Councillor Peter Atkinson praised council housing official Simon Pickles for his work on a garage site in Mile Oak where there was a restricted covenant on the land.

Councillor David Gibson said that he would be keener to see homes built on the two sites rather than on-street parking spaces for rent. He said: “We have got a housing crisis in the city.”

The options to be presented in June could include modular homes, self-build schemes or working with a housing co-op.

Councillor Mary Mears

In recommending demolition, the report said: “This will save the HRA the ongoing expenditure relating to the misuse of the sites, including fly-tipping.

“The Dunster Close site has been securely fenced off. The single garage in Knoll Close has been secured. There will be ongoing expenditure in keeping the sites secure.”

“There has been low demand for garages at these two sites and existing licensees have accepted transfers to other sites.

“At Dunster Close, prior to emptying, the rent loss owing to voids over the last five years was 55 per cent (£25,000 loss approximately).”

The report said that demolishing the garages would cost about £45,000, including removing asbestos at one site and carrying out an asbestos survey at the other.

At a housing panel meeting, one tenant told the council: “The Knoll Close garage is an eyesore, attracts fly-tipping and rats and should be demolished and the site made more attractive for residents, particularly those in the adjacent block of studio flats.”

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