Work is under way on buying three new sites for council homes in Brighton, councillors were told last night (Wednesday 13 November).
Brighton and Hove City Council plans to buy three flats in Rugby Place from a private landlord and also wants to convert a commercial space under council flats in Edward Street into homes.
But a campaigner was upset that members of the Housing Committee did not debate the proposals because the third site is the Valley Social Centre in Whitehawk Way.
Up to 28 homes could be built on the site if the deal goes through.
Currently the council owns the car park and was offered the site by the centre’s trustees who described it as “no longer viable”.
The Labour council leader Nancy Platts, who represents East Brighton ward, asked the council to consult people in the area about building a new community space as part of the project.
Her request was approved last month by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee, which Councillor Platts chairs.
Whitehawk resident and housing campaigner Dan Harris was shocked that the Housing Committee did not discuss buying the site when it met at Hove Town Hall yesterday.
Mr Harris previously asked the Policy and Resources Committee to keep the centre open for the community.
He said: “Considering the community have raised transparency issues and have reported issues with three trustees, this was rushed through without public scrutiny.
“It’s an asset grab from an already hit community. This will have quite serious social consequences (like) we saw in the ’90s.”
Save The Valley Social Club has organised an emergency residents’ meeting on Sunday 1 December at 2pm.
The move to buy the social centre is part of the council’s plan to build or find sites for 800 new council homes by 2023.
Work is also under way to bring Oakley Motor Units, in Edward Street, back into the full council ownership so that it can convert the space into homes.
Separately the council is transferring a car park in Frederick Street, Brighton, to its housing department so that four flats can be built.