OPINION

What we are doing to build more homes in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 17 Jun 2020 at 1:11 am

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.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    Does this mean the joint venture with Hyde is now only going to build 700 homes instead of the 1000 Labour promised under the previous Labour Administration but is still going to cost £120m?

    • Tracey Hill Reply

      Up to 1,000 in total, that’s a maximum figure. The £120m is also a maximum as the investment goes in on a scheme by scheme basis. The main challenge is finding suitable sites.

      • rolivan Reply

        I came up with an idea years ago when Labour were led by Warren Morgan and although a Planning Officer thought it was a great idea he said that the preferred way was large developments and yet here we are still looking for sites.
        I also spoke to Warren Morgan When Kings House was first put on the Market about turning it into apartments and using profits to build more Social and his reply was we are not developers, and yet not long after a decision was made to go into partnership with Hyde.

  2. Neil Man Reply

    I don’t think the shared ownership is sold at 80% of the market value; that would be classed as discounted market sale. As I understand it, the shared ownership homes will be offered at full market value but with the opportunity to buy between 25-70%, with a rent charged on whatever the retained equity is. Additional shares can be purchased at a later date up to 100%, at which point the rent reduces accordingly , to 0% once the property is bought outright.
    The Clarion can advise further but I believe this is correct.

  3. Lisa LIntott Reply

    Who will manage the properties on behalf of the tenants. Hyde have a terrible reputation with little customer care, contact or communication – what safeguards are in place to make sure this is not another Grenfell and that ALL tenants and their homes are managed with the dignity and humanity the residents deserve?
    Furthermore, who is assessing what is affordable and where is this published – I heard that you had to have a family income of £45K to apply for these flats – which is way out of the reach of many Brighton residents

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