Plan to build 800 flats in Hove given the green light

A £260 million scheme to build more than 800 homes in Hove has been granted planning permission this afternoon (Wednesday 4 March).

But councillors said that they felt their hands were tied as they voted it through when just 10 per cent of the flats would be classed as “affordable”.

In all, the developer Moda Living can build 564 flats for rent and 260 retirement flats on the site of the Sackville Trading Estate and Hove Goods Yard, in Sackville Road, Hove.

Just 56 of the flats will be made available to people needing an “affordable” home, with rents set at 75 per cent of the market rate.

But Moda and the landowner Coal Pension Properties were accused of playing “hard ball” by one member of Brighton and Hove City Council.

At Hove Town Hall, the council’s Planning Committee was told that the latest application addressed the reasons for refusal given when a previous application was turned down.

But councillors did not seem convinced that the scheme was all that different as they were told that Moda had also put in an appeal after its initial plans were rejected.

A planning inspector is due to hear the appeal in April, with Moda having withdrawn the “affordable” housing element of the original application. It also wants it latest scheme to be placed before the inspector.

Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen, who represents Hove Park ward, spoke out on behalf of neighbours.

Councillor Bagaeen, a professor of planning, said that Moda and Coal Pension Properties had played hard ball with the council on the number of affordable homes.

Labour councillor John Allcock, who represents the neighbouring Goldsmid ward, said that there were 9,100 people on the council’s housing waiting list and the scheme “does not help them”.

He said: “This development does not contribute to the city’s real housing need. It’s 10 per cent of homes with 25 per cent off expensive rents. Affordable homes are one of our top priorities.”

An artist’s impression of the Moda Living scheme for Sackville Road in Hove

Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said that he was disappointed that the scheme had not changed enough since last year and he also criticised the lack affordable housing.

But he said that he felt compelled to vote for the scheme because of the wider shortage of new housing in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “We do not have any choice. If the applicant is successful with their appeal, they will be able to do to things to our council and possibly sue us and I don’t think that will be worth it.

“I feel like my hands are tied I’m not very happy.”

Labour councillor Daniel Yates was also frustrated, saying that the council was being told that it could have its 10 per cent affordable housing as long as it did not ask again.

He said: “I very much feel I am being held over a barrel over this 10 per cent.

“I don’t like listening to the argument that if we oppose it, they won’t do it and we’ll get nothing and that 10 per cent is better than nothing.

“I understand it – and the city needs this site regenerated – but it also has a great deal of other needs that need to be met.”

He said that the positives outweighed the negatives but the plans looked like a massive university campus and did not recognise the nature of Hove.

A proposed entrance to the Sackville Road scheme

Neighbour John Mitchell spoke on behalf of Artists’ Corner residents and voiced their concerns about the extra pressure on parking.

He also asked for a significant proportion of the “developer contribution” of £3.5 million to fund pollution control measures but was told that this fell outside the rules.

Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh voted against the plans. She said: “We need to send a message to developers that we want and deserve better for our city than this.”

Labour councillor Chris Henry, who manages Hove MP Peter Kyle’s office, said that people in the area wanted to the site developed and it “wasn’t going to get better than this”.

Councillor Chris Henry

Moda Living plans to build 52 studios, 202 one-bedroom flats, 268 two-bedroom flats and 42 three-bedroom flats.

The scheme includes a retirement community of 260 homes, with 37 one-bedroom flats and 223 two-bedroom flats and communal facilities including a gym, swimming pool and library.

The “affordable” element works out as five studios, 20 one-bedroom flats, 27 two-bedroom flats and four three-bedroom flats.

The original plans were turned down in part because they included too many studio flats – and the number has been halved in the revised scheme. The latest version also includes more employment space.

Moda’s planning director James Blakey said: “We are absolutely delighted that Brighton and Hove have put their faith in our exciting vision for the regeneration of the Sackville Estate.

“The decision today will enable us, together with our partners, to revitalise a long-dormant brownfield site with new homes and employment opportunities, while also investing £10 million into the local community, including over £4 million on projects spanning education, employment, sport, public art and green spaces, alongside the creation of over 560 full-time jobs.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    When one hears a builder talk of “our exciting vision” one must fear the worst. Where are they taught such language? Has anybody heard passers-by exclaim, “wow! I’m excited by their vision!”

    Meanwhile I hope that the trees on Sackville Road are not damaged in the process.

    Something could have been learnt from the Sixties destruction of the terraced housing which is now Conway “Court” etc. The Coal Pension areas could have now been used for housing similar to Landseer Road etc. to the west.

    And, in this time of climate emergency, what on earth – as it were – is the Coal Pension? It should be driven out of town.

  2. Trace Reply

    I need a 4 bed house for me and my 3 kids. I am single mum on benefits. Will this help me. Can pay 300 A month and need rest from benefits. Also does gym have a sun bed?

  3. MegA Reply

    9,100 people on the council’s housing waiting list will not be helped by building of new homes by private developers. New builds have a 10-20% premium on price compare with the same in older stock. It is ridiculous to adhere to the model of getting people on to the housing ladder with new housing. Existing, older stock is the best way to achieve this. People who buy expensive new homes usually sell a cheaper older home to do so. It will add to the stock of cheaper housing but in an indirect way. If the council want to ensure adequate stock of affordable housing the council should acquire land and undertake the development. Mind you, they did spend £250K per pitch at the Horsedean traveler site, so not confident the council could manage a hosing development budget.

  4. Joanna Reply

    I am born and bred in Brighton and I used to feel a sense of pride to live here.
    Now the city is totally unrecognisable from what is was and has lost its identity. It’s now full of ugly buildings and rendered walls and cladding at every turn which makes the city look so cheap. Developers clearly dont care about this and are just interested in making money. Shame on Brighton and Hove Council for letting them do this and for letting our beautiful city become so ugly.

  5. Rich Reply

    straight on the back of cricket ground development building NO affordable flats and giving a small bribe this is a kick in the teeth
    HARDLY ANY affordable accommodations

  6. saveJOVE Reply

    Blackmail decision. The city is a hostage now, trapped by the City Plan and its identified housing need-inspired target fugures along with 5-yr land supply deficiencies. Developers are free to extort bad land use out of BHCC using these Govt-determined constraints.

    It began in the Blair era when the city was formed & SEERA/SEEDA declared that this town (fake city) would be part if a ‘diamond’ economic network with much increased population. Now we are trapped by what was ser in train.

    This city is a hostage to this viciously prejudicial foolishness. We need to right-size for a reasonable quality if life. The sooner the midlands & north are equal to the south, the better! Too many feel they HAVE to be south of Watford to have a life!

  7. Ben Reply

    The only truly “affordable” houses have always been council flats/houses.

    The Tory Govt of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s introduced right-to-buy to increase the percentage of the population who were more likely to vote CONservative.

    The money from Council house sales went to Central Govt, and only a small percentage was then granted back to local authorities to build new stock.

    Only 1 in 5 council houses sold has been replaced, hence a housing shortage!
    The Tories also prevented local authorities borrowing against their assets to finance new housing stock.

    Tories, for the few, never the many!

  8. Professor Mike Gibson Reply

    Fundamentally, it was the landowner – the Coal Board Pension Fund -that ‘played hardball’ by selling the site to the highest bidder. MODA agreed to pay a very high price, subject to securing planning approval for a scheme which would cover the development costs of buying the land, construction and a significant profit. The level of rents reflects the anticipated market rents in Hove which MODA judged would be sufficient to make the scheme commercially viable by covering the long term management costs of the scheme. In this system of providing housing on privately owned land ‘affordable housing’ is ‘tail-end Charlie’ and in this particular case entirely within the gift of the Coal Board Pension Fund.. But the Coal Board, MODA and the Council all played by the rules of the game. These rules are set by the government which since 2010 has changed them in fundamental ways in favour of private sector development interests. This has weakened the planning system’s capacity to secure a fair share for the public of the increase in land value that flows from the Council granting planning permission for uses which have a higher value than the existing uses. In this case, changing a run-down industrial estate into a modern mixed-use development, providing badly needed housing and local jobs. It was in this context that the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum reluctantly supported the scheme in a written submission which attempted to explain why the government’s rules meant that the MODA scheme was the best deal Hove is likely to get – see http://www.hovestationforum.co.uk. In the long term, these rules need re-writing to re-balance public benefit and private profit. In the short term, the Planning Committee should require planning officers to publish a guide on the Council website which explains why they had no choice but to accept this scheme and set out the changes that the council would like to see in the rules of the game.

  9. kelly Reply

    we need affordable housing, labour and free wifi plus higher taxes for people with jobs

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