A £20 million scheme to build 104 truly affordable flats in Portslade has been grated planning permission this afternoon (Wednesday 4 September).
The homes have been designed to be rented or sold to local working families on low wages.
The scheme was devised by Homes for Brighton and Hove – the joint venture between Brighton and Hove City Council and housing association Hyde.
It involves demolishing an old equipment store and day centre off the A259 Wellington Road in Portslade, close to the corner of Station Road.
The plans were approved by the council’s Planning Committee at Hove Town Hall.
The scheme includes 11 studios, 50 one-bedroom flats, 39 two-bedroom flats and four three-bedroom flats with living wage rents set at 37.5 per cent of disposible income for someone on a £9-an-hour living wage.
South Portslade Labour councillor Les Hamilton spoke on behalf of residents who opposed the plans.
People in the area were concerned about more strain on parking in already busy streets.
Councillor Hamilton said that the project was an over-development in area better suited to 45 new homes.
He was concerned about the lack of open space. He said that there should be 11,500 square metres but there would be just 455 sq m, less than 4 per cent of the requirement.
Councillor Hamilton said: “This application would set a precedent and the owners of the private land on the south side of North Street could put in similar applications, quoting the council as a precedent leading to 500 units and 50 parking spaces.
“That would be completely unacceptable.”
He added: “There are very few garages and driveways so residents have to park on the highway.
“We cannot indefinitely try to park more and more vehicles on a fixed length of highway.
“We need more off-street parking. The maximum number of parking spaces for 104 residential units is 156 – not 10.”
After the application went through, Councillor Hamilton said: “It’s what I expected but I am disappointed really.
“I think we’ve got to the stage if an application says housing it goes through.”
People in the south Portslade area are to be consulted about a controlled parking zone (CPZ).
One resident, James Hobson, said that while he and his neighbours were not against seeing the site redeveloped, they were not happy with the application.
He said that the density was “ludicrous” with neighbours playing “ring o’ roses” every evening as they tried to find a parking space.
Mr Hobson said: “This would squeeze 250 additional people in a space half the size of the Amex football pitch.
“It is ludicrous and a dereliction of council duty.”
He added: “Councillor Hamilton pointed out the lack of breathing space for people living in the area.
“Do we want families stuck together like battery hens?”
Kirsty Coulter, who is developing neighbouring 1 Clardendon Place, raised concerns about the future of her green wildflower roof because of shadow from the building.
She also told the Planning Committee that she had seen the invasive plant Japanese knotweed growing through concrete on the site the night before the committee met.
Savills director Guy Dixon said, on behalf of the applicant, that the scheme would ease pressure on the council’s 5,000-strong housing waiting list.
He said: “We understand concerns about car parking.”
Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said that the allocation of 10 parking spaces was a “lottery” after being told that people could apply for them.
She said: “It is terrible to try to park there. It certainly needs more car parking.”
Councillor Theobald and fellow Conservative Dee Simson both opposed the application.
Conservative councillor Joe Miller voted in favour of the scheme.
He said: “We need to maximise our brownfield sites. It’s not perfect. It is a difficult application.”
Green councillor Sue Shanks said: “There is an overwhelming need for housing in the city and we need to consider climate change.
“If people will have cars, people will drive them. Building something like this in an area extremely accessible by public transport, with the trains and bus routes, I think it is the most ideal.”
Labour councillor Gill Williams asked for an option of landscaping or play areas for children.
Councillors voted eight to two to approve planning permission.