Council-built or purchased social housing has grown since restrictions were relaxed on the use of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) – the account that all council tenants’ rents are paid into.
We promised to provide a minimum of 800 additional council homes over the next four years and we are on course to meet that target.
New builds include the sites at Selsfield Drive, Moulsecoomb, and Victoria Road, Portslade. And we are also buying back homes sold through the “right to buy”.
We have a joint venture with the Hyde Group housing association called Homes for Brighton and Hove. This housing will be built as land is acquired.
The flats in Clarendon Place, Portslade, are part of this, as is the development in Coldean.
The joint venture is ultimately for 1,000 homes, with planning permission already obtained for 346 – and we are hoping to start later this year.
The plan is for half to be for “Living Wage” rent and half for shared ownership.
We also pledged an additional 700 genuinely affordable homes for the city. The joint venture housing will form part of this, along with other housing association properties and community-led housing.
When a housing association can acquire land, they build a mixture of homes for rent, shared ownership and private sale.
An example of this is the Clarion site in Overdown Rise. The 40 per cent “affordable” target set by the council is met by allocating 28 of the homes for a mix of “affordable” rent, based on 80 per cent average local rent, with a cap set at housing benefit levels, and shared ownership based on an average 80 per cent property price.
These will be offered to residents on the council “waiting list”.
Very few of the brownfield sites in the city are owned by the council and are sold, very expensively, on the open market or retained by the landowner as they rise in value.
This is known as “land banking”. We need national legislation to stop this practice and are lobbying the government on this, so we can build more homes.
Councillor Gill Williams is a Labour councillor and chair of the Housing Committee on Brighton and Hove City Council.