Plans to build nine flats in Lewes Road, Brighton, have been approved by councillors.
Local developer John Blankson wants to demolish an existing three-storey building and replace it with a four-storey block of two-bedroom flats.
The plans include a shop, office or café on the ground floor next to the northern end of Gladstone Terrace, almost opposite St Martin’s Church.
The current graffiti-strewn and semi-derelict site was described as a “blight” at a “virtual” meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee yesterday (Wednesday 5 July).
The plans also prompted more questions about “affordable” housing after councillors were told that Mr Blankson would pay a “commuted” sum of £182,250.
But none of the flats on the site would be classed as “affordable”.
Green councillor Sue Shanks asked why the council could not have one of the nine flats rather than money towards building or buying affordable housing elsewhere.
She said: “Why can’t we just have the flat? We need social housing and this would be the logical thing – to give a flat to the council.”
Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh said that the guidance on developers paying the council money instead of including affordable housing on the site itself appeared to short-change the council by about £80,000.
She said: “Basically we’re saying we’ll let you off £80,000. That doesn’t seem quite right to me.”
Conservative councillor Joe Miller said: “This building has been a blight on Lewes Road for a long time. It’s awful so I’m pleased to see some development happening.
“I do hope it doesn’t follow in the same train as the disaster that was the building that’s built on top of the old Nat West bank in Lewes Road. That just looks unsightly.”
Labour councillor Daniel Yates said that the design was a good transition between the houses along Gladstone Terrace and the more commercial elements of Lewes Road.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the scheme.