Housing associations rebuff council’s affordable rented homes policy again

Posted On 06 Apr 2021 at 7:01 pm

Work on the Aurum block of flats on the site of the old Sackville Hotel, in Kingsway, on Hove seafront, is nearing completion

More than half a dozen housing associations have once again rebuffed a council planning policy on rented affordable homes.

The latest setback comes as councillors are asked to vary the planning permission granted to a block of flats on Hove seafront on the site of the old Sackville Hotel.

Even Brighton and Hove City Council’s own housing department appeared to be unable to support the policy, sometimes as known as “pepperpotting” – and intended to prevent the creation of “ghettoes”.

Hyde housing association was granted planning permission in 2017 to build 60 homes in an eight-storey block.

It agreed to include 10 “affordable” homes in the scheme, with five for rent and five for shared ownership.

Hyde has since sold the site – 189 Kingsway – to a Brighton and Hove firm called Cayuga Homes, run by property developer Ed Deedman, 42, and his partner Tim Harding, 50.

Last year the council agreed to vary the planning permission, requiring just seven “affordable” homes, with three for rent and four for shared ownership. When the block is completed the number of flats should total 52.

Now a report to the council’s Planning Committee said that none of the registered providers (RPs) of social housing locally were prepared to take on just three tenancies.

As well as the snub from local housing associations, even the council’s own housing officials reached the same conclusion.

A report to the council’s Planning Committee said: “Housing officers also note that consideration is given as to whether the council could purchase the homes but highlight that ‘any risk and suitability assessment of the homes on offer would be undertaken along the same lines as that of the RPs, with viability then assessed through the “home purchase” model based on cost of purchase and projected rent levels’.

“Council officers are satisfied that neither registered providers nor (the council’s housing department) are able to take on the affordable units.”

A visualisation of the Aurum block of flats being built on Hove seafront on the corner of Kingsway and Sackville Gardens

The report now advises the council to accept that all the “affordable” homes should be shared ownership.

Cayuga said that the site – to be known as Aurum – on the corner of Kingsway and Sackville Gardens was “a landmark development”. The sale of the flats is expected to gross more than £28 million.

The council’s Planning Committee is due to decide whether to grant Cayuga’s request at a virtual meeting tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 7 April). The meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm and should be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. SamC Reply

    “Council officers are satisfied that neither registered providers nor (the council’s housing department) are able to take on the affordable units.” No surprises there. The model of having a few units here, a few units there (“pepperpotting”) for affordable rent has NEVER worked. Why does the council persist with this broken model and fail to learn? It is only viable and practical for housing associations (and council housing departments) to manage large groups of flats – there is a critical mass/number below which the sums just do not add up. Best if affordable rent is in dedicated buildings and then the entire building can be managed efficiently. Ghettoization is not an issue is properties are looked after and well maintained.

  2. Valerie Reply

    These bleating HA’s DO already have individual leaseholds in our council housing stock. Acquiring them was a practice once deemed appropriate but now they are all big game hunters in the Developer game.

  3. karen yeo Reply

    Not happy with council housing not enough but hundreds of flats for students building everywhere they can none for brightonias we have been eased out are kids can afford to live here its breaking families up more flats London road to be built on the peacock site along London road has become ugly and the ugliest ii the lewes rd housing the worst site as you enter brighton

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