Ten self-build homes planned for Brighton cul de sac
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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The picture of the development on Dudley Road is wrong. At present the housing on top of the restraining wall shows a lovely treeline behind the building. These belong to the trees -5 metres back from the edge of the wall- that you would destroy to build the housing. It would be nice to think that the company could reply to this and not block me, as they have done with other residents of Dudley Rd.
The land described as “scrap” is in fact a winderful green spaces, home to mature trees and wildlife and should not be built on. Brighton and Hove City Council, can’t be bothered to prune trees or restore garages so they lease land in inappropriate areas to incompetent cooperatives. The Planning Committee based their decision on an out of date street map …Oldbury Row, a brand new development of 7 houses is not on their map. This is durectly between the two proposed sites. Neither the busy Upper Hollingdean Road or the vast recycling depot iwirh the associated pollution is shown on the map given to the Planning Committee. Dunster Close is a tiny cul de sac with dreadful access and .the lives of those residents will be miserable. Bunker Housing Cooperative have provided an architects drawing which shows a building surrounded by trees ..this is a misrepresentation, which they admit is incorrect. Building on the green space will need mass destruction. Residents will fight this terrible decision.
It’s difficult to put into words the tremendous strength of feeling AGAINST this development in the Hollingdean and Fiveways area. What is being proposed is entirely inappropriate for these two very small sites and has been done with total disregard for the closeknit community that Bunker Coop wish to join. Nobody in the area has a principled objection to people building on brownfield land, but the scale of what is being proposed blows the mind. Furthermore, Bunker have tried to charactise the small green on Dunster Close as “scrap” land when in reality it is a grass field that the local residents children play in. Only the former garage site is technically Brownfield and is riddled with problems like poor access and very close proximity to existing houses. The other site down the road is completely virgin land that (short of a sewage pipe) has never been built on in its history.
My hope is that Bunker will take this oppourtunity to go back to the drawing board and RADICALLY rethink their plans, then return with something much more appropriate to the local area… probably along the lines of 1 small 3 bed home on each of the two sites, probably in a bungalow format and preserving some of the green space without compromising their new neighbours privacy, access to light or the already strained local ammenities like parking.
Bunker try to pitch themselves as a very green, Brightonian, eco-friendly co-operative that want to build housing differently… if that is true then I hope they will take the communities concerns onboard and appreciate the sheer weight of local opposition to their plans. If so then they will return to the drawing board and come back to the local community with a completely new plan. If they proceed along the lines of their current plans they are going to hit a fierce wall of opposition when they reach the planning stage. Given that they plan to live in these homes themselves they might want to take a more compromising approach with the people who could be their neighbours in the next few years.