Work has started on preparing a site in Portslade for 42 new council flats with the demolition of a bowls club building.
And the bowls club’s membership has doubled because they have been given a new base across the road from the site in Victoria Park.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Work to build 42 new council homes in Victoria Road, Portslade, is starting this spring.
“The development will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats on land behind Portslade Town Hall, including four ‘wheelchair accessible’ properties and a communal garden.
“As part of our commitment to reduce carbon emissions, the homes will be highly insulated and solar panels will help to reduce electricity bills for residents.
“Other sustainability features will include ground source heat pumps to extract heat from the ground for heating and hot water.
“The scheme comprises a landscaped communal garden for residents with raised planters, trees, a small orchard, seating and grass amenity space.
“It will also provide a new civic outdoor space which includes ‘living’ green walls watered with recycled rainwater, trees and seating.
“The development is one of the largest in our New Homes for Neighbourhoods building programme and is one of a range of ways we are providing much needed extra council homes.
“The council’s contractor, Morgan Sindall, started work this month to demolish a bowls club building on the Victoria Road site and the construction of the new homes will start later this spring.
“A replacement sports pavilion has already been built nearby in Victoria Recreation Ground, which will provide accommodation for Portslade Bowls Club as well as football changing facilities.
“The pavilion also benefits from a short mat indoor bowls area and a new artificial bowling green, which is Bowls England compliant and will extend the playing season.
“The bowls club is already seeing the positives of the new facilities, with membership more than doubled.
“We’re also inviting expressions of interests from local clubs interested in managing and maintaining the football changing facilities within the new pavilion and the pitches in Victoria Recreation Ground.”
Green councillor David Gibson, joint chair of the council’s Housing Committee, said: “It is great to see work getting under way on this major new council housing project.
“The energy efficiency measures, such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps, will benefit the environment and residents and are a practical example of how we are working to cut emissions to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.”
Councillor Gibson added: “We are delighted that, thanks to our joint housing programme, 200 additional council homes have been delivered in under two years – as many as the council achieved in the previous four years.
“The Victoria Road scheme is one of the ways we will continue to provide more homes over the coming years.”
Labour councillor Gill Williams, the opposition lead for housing, said: “Providing more homes to tackle the city’s housing crisis is a top priority.
“This development will give a new lease of life to a council-owned site and each one of the flats will make a real difference to the residents who move into them.
“The scheme is also already bringing wider benefits, with improved sports facilities in Victoria Recreation Ground.”
The council said that, since April 2019, more than 200 extra council homes had been provided, including 30 flats at Hawkridge Court, in Selsfield Drive, Brighton, under the New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme.
Twelve flats in Buckley Close, Hangleton, and another 12 in Kensington Street, in the North Laine, Brighton, have been built under the same programme.
The council said that six homes had been built under its Hidden Homes scheme, making use of empty or “hidden” spaces in council properties and turning them into homes.
These included converting former office space into three flats at Swallow Court, Whitehawk, creating two extra flats at Elwyn Jones Court seniors housing scheme, in Patcham, and an extra flat at Woods House seniors housing scheme in Hove.
More projects are under way, the council said, including 10 new flats in a former housing office in Oxford Street, Brighton, which will be completed this summer.
The council added that it had bought back 97 former council homes under the Home Purchase Policy scheme.
Other initiatives include the purchase of 38 flats in Hartington Road, Brighton, to provide temporary homes for people in housing need.
Plus at least 19 homes for former rough sleepers are being bought through the Next Steps Accommodation Programme and the purchase is due to be completed by the end of the month.
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