Brighton and Hove landlords snub council over affordable rented homes

Two developers want agreements to include “affordable” homes in their schemes to exclude homes for rent because housing associations say the numbers are too small.

Social landlords approved by Brighton and Hove City Council have rejected taking on affordable rented flats in developments by Crest Nicholson in Hove and Preston Road Apartments in Brighton.

The original planning permission for Crest Nicholson’s “Artisan” block of 47 one, two and three-bedroom flats in Davigdor Road, Hove, was granted in December 2015.

It included six affordable rented homes and two with shared ownership.

In November 2016 the company asked to change the requirement as agreements with social landlords to take on the affordable flats could not be reached.

Instead, Crest Nicholson was required to pay £1.2 million to fund affordable homes elsewhere.

Now the company wants to change the condition again to a contribution of £670,000 towards affordable homes elsewhere and 15 affordable flats on-site for shared ownership.

As one of the new flats is now occupied, planning conditions mean that company should be paying the council the money previously agreed.

In Preston Road, Brighton, the old City College building on the corner of Dyke Road Drive is due to be converted into 25 flats.

The planning conditions include five flats for affordable rent and five for shared ownership.

Again due to lack of interest from the council’s preferred social landlords, the company has asked to make all its “affordable” allocation for shared ownership.

Crest Nicholson’s Artisan flats in Davigdor Road in Hove

The reasons social landlords gave for not wishing to take up the units include

  • Too few affordable units within the scheme
  • Affordable units not within a separate block, therefore difficult to manage the mix
  • The freehold would not be owned by the social landlord, so they would not be in control the maintenance of the building
  • Lack of parking and difficult access for a wheelchair-accessible unit
  • A layout that would not be popular and, with the refurbished properties, the difficult and cost of maintainance
  • Letters from two social housing landlords are included with the agenda for the council’s
  • Planning Committee meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 15 August) when both applications are up for discussion.

Jeremy Barkway, strategic partnership manager of Southern Housing Group, said: “On balance we have decided not to bid for this for a combination of reasons involving location, scale, life cycle costs and intergration of tenures.”

Rhys Daniel, head of land and planning (south) at Hyde Housing, said: “The total number of affordable units is too small for Hyde’s current target requirements and the mix of units in a single block and the nature of the scheme (refurbishment) also make this an unattractive proposition from a management, maintenance and affordability perspective.

“To be honest I think you will struggle to find a taker for these units from RPs (registered providers) operating in the city.”

The Planning Committee meets at 2pm tomorrow at Hove Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

  1. Mr. P.Tanham. Reply

    There is no such thing as AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

  2. SamC Reply

    Housing Associations (HAs) have been saying for years they don’t want to manage small pockets of affordable housing in mixed developments. Yet BHCC just ignores this.. why? Myopic, ignorant, stupid? Just get developers to contribute funding for dedicated social housing developments of a decent scale so that HAs will manage them. Unnecessary idiocy that compounds the housing problems we already have.

  3. Gyal Child Reply

    I’m miffed. I was dreaming and hoping just maybe I might get an affordable in my neighbourhood.

  4. Valerie Reply

    The solution is very simple. Instead of the affordable units going to HA’s, Brighton & Hove City Council should take them on and operate them from within either Seaside Homes or as Council Housing itself. As it is infrastructure they can damn well borrow from the PWLB to do it I say. Far better investment than that i360 ever was!

  5. SamC Reply

    Seaside Homes – excellent idea Valerie – they could easily take over the management of these homes. HAs will not touch small pockets in mixed blocks – nightmare for them and inefficient. Dedicated sites funded by developer contributions would probably be more efficient for management.

    Brighton & Hove Seaside Community Homes (Seaside Homes) is a not-for profit, independent, charitable company that raises investment to improve empty properties and provides the resulting homes to people in housing need. We deliver quality accommodation to people who need a place to live. We believe a house should be a home and we pride ourselves in providing good quality accommodation for all our tenants, with the aim of improving people’s lives.

  6. Kay Reply

    There’s a risk of really high service and maintenance charges in these developments, that both owners and renters should be aware of.
    Separate good quality developments that HA’s or the council would take on are a much better idea.

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