Brighton housing scheme may include fewer affordable homes than previously agreed

Posted On 21 Jun 2017 at 9:00 pm

Another housing scheme looks likely to include fewer affordable homes than previously agreed after a decision by Brighton and Hove City Council planners this afternoon (Wednesday 21 June).

The original plans for the old maternity hospital site in Buckingham Road, Brighton, included nine affordable homes, or 40 per cent, in line with council policy. About half of those were for rent.

The council’s policy calls for at least 40 per cent of homes to be affordable homes on sites where 15 or more houses or flats are being built – and 30 per cent on sites of 10 to 14 homes.

But developer Buckingham Developments said that its plans would not be viable if 40 per cent of the homes in its scheme were classed as affordable homes.

It was given planning permission, subject to conditions, last October to demolish 80 Buckingham Road – the breeze-block building on the corner of Buckingham Road, Upper Gloucester Road and Buckingham Street.

In its place Buckingham Developments would build a five-storey block of 20 flats while the Victorian properties at 76 to 79 Buckingham Road would be converted into four townhouses.

A report from the independent District Valuer Services supported the developer’s position.

This afternoon at Hove Town Hall the council’s Planning Committee agreed to a set of alternative options as officials try to reach an agreement with the developer.

The options are nine affordable homes for shared ownership or six for rent or a payment – known as a commuted sum – of £860,000 so that the council can fund affordable homes elsewhere.

The Planning Committee was also told that the council had struggled to find a housing association to run any affordable housing on the site.

In December another developer, Crest Nicholson, was given permission to pay £1.2 million rather than build eight affordable homes at a site in Davigdor Road, Hove, where it is putting up 47 flats.

The Lansdowne Place Hotel is being converted into flats

And last year on the same issue a planning inspector sided with the developer behind plans to convert the Lansdowne Place Hotel – formerly the Dudley Hotel – into flats.

The inspector agreed that the scheme, at the seafront end of Lansdowne Place, Hove, could include 18 homes for shared ownership but none would be for rent as the council had hoped.

She accepted that the management and maintenance charges could put the flats financially out of reach of those who they were meant to help.

Instead the developer was told that it could pay the council a commuted sum of £2.4 million so that the council, again, could provide affordable homes elsewhere.

  1. Anthony Saggers Reply

    This is an absolute disgrace, private developers should not be able to hold the city to ransom under the guise that plans are not “viable” unless a significant profit is made.
    The council are not seriously going to accept this are they?
    Even if they the developers were to pay the council the proposed 2.4 million, there would still be a lack of affordable housing four years into the future.
    That’s not counting on whether the council could be trusted to reinvest the money wisely if they can’t be trusted to keep greedy developers in check.
    A small part of the larger death of Brighton.

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