A local self-build group looks likely to be offered two small plots of land for homes in Brighton.
The Bunker Housing Co-op is expected to lease the sites in Dunster Close, Hollingdean, from Brighton and Hove City Council.
The group has already drawn up a business plan aimed at building two houses and eight flats there to be let for “affordable” rents.
Five of the homes would go on the site of 12 former garages in the cul de sac, off Horton Road. The other five would be built on a scrap of grass “amenity land”.
The sites are said to be so small and hard to develop that conventional schemes to build affordable housing there would not be financially viable.
Bunker, which is already involved in a pilot scheme to provide two self-build family houses in Plumpton Road, Brighton, is working on the scheme with the Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust.
Yesterday (Wednesday 18 September) the council’s Housing Committee gave the scheme its backing.
The 125-year lease is expected to be agreed by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next month.
In return the council will receive £2,500 a year in ground rent while retaining the freehold of the land, subject to Bunker being granted planning permission.
Hollingdean and Stanmer ward councillor Martin Osborne told the Housing Committee at Hove Town Hall that he was pleased to see the council working with the Community Land Trust on the project.
He said: “Hopefully, we can do more and identify new sites going forward. It is important these small sites that are underused or unused can be developed by these innovative groups.”
Fellow Green councillor David Gibson said that he had spoken at the Community Land Trust annual general meeting (AGM) about the plans to find more sites.
A joint programme for housing has been agreed by the council’s Labour administration and Green opposition – described as a coalition by Conservative councillor Mary Mears.
The joint programme proposes finding 10 sites for community housing schemes in six months.
Councillor Gibson urged self-build champions to “hold us to that promise”, adding: “People have been working very hard and putting in a lot of time to get community housing.
“People feel really heartened that the council is stepping their commitment up on working with the community on community housing and self build.”
Labour councillor John Allcock said that he had been to see old self-build projects in Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb.
He said: “What is interesting is it’s very much about community wealth building in the heart of our community.
“It has happened before. It’s excellent. It’s new and innovative but building on things from the past.”
The final decision is due to be made by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday 10 October.
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