Tenant reps urge council to build more family homes

People are calling for more family homes to be built as they say that their area is being taken over by student housing.

Tenant representatives said that most of the new homes being built were earmarked specifically for students.

And they complained that this was having little effect on the number of shared houses – officially known as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Their concern is included in the papers for a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s North Area Housing Management Panel next week.

A response from the council, included in the meeting papers, said: “A total of 1,100 house in multiple occupation (HMO) licences were issued within the Patcham, Hollingdean and Stanmer and Moulsecoomb and Bevendean wards for the financial year 2021-22.

“We currently have a backlog of applications to be processed, so this figure will increase over the coming year.”

The loss of family homes to shared houses has affected pupil numbers at local schools.

In the past four years, the intake or published admission number (PAN) for Moulsecoomb Primary School has fallen from 90 to 30. The council said that just 12 children were expected to start in reception in September.

Bevendean and Coldean primary schools were earmarked to have their numbers reduced by 15 pupils each from next year before a campaign by parents won a reprieve. In September, the schools are due to received 34 and 41 children in reception respectively.

In Hollingdean, Hertford Infant School has two forms of entry – or an intake of 60 – and St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School has one form of entry – or a PAN of 30.

But in September the schools are expected to have just 26 and 14 children joining reception as families are increasingly squeezed out of the area.

The meeting papers said: “While the perception is that every piece of development land is used for student housing, it might be useful to highlight that we have recently built 30 council homes at Hawkridge (the ex-Selsfield Drive Housing Office).

“There are 226 affordable homes being developed on the Preston Barracks site, some for affordable shared ownership, 242 affordable homes being built on the Coldean Lane site as part of the council’s joint venture with Hyde Housing Association and, of course, there is the exciting proposal for over 200 council homes as part of the Moulsecoomb Hub development.”

The purpose-built student flats under construction at One Moulsecoomb Way in Brighton

The council does not build student housing. All new student housing schemes are private projects.

Council tax records indicate that the number of homes receiving a student exemption fell by 970 from 5,699 in 2020-21 to 4,729 in 2021-22.

The North Area Housing Management Panel is due to meet at Hollingdean Community Centre, in Thompson Road, at 7pm next Wednesday (18 May). The meeting is also being held on Zoom.

  1. Hove Guy Reply

    “The council does not build student housing. All new student housing schemes are private projects.“

    But they do have control of what is permitted to be built, and they know, only too well, that more students equals more votes for the Greens.

    • Tim Reply

      Nonsense. Councils follow national planning guidance (and the planning committee isn’t political). If they reject legitimate applications, it will end up being approved on appeal (at great cost to the council).

      The Withdean ward has no student accommodation but 3 green councillors, which rather disproves your theory in any case. Surely if students were the root cause of our green majority, all Uni towns in the UK would be in the same situation, which they are not.

  2. sugar Reply

    When will there be safe and suitable accommodation for people with disabilities?
    There is nothing out there at the moment, and people with disabilities are stuggling, including myself.

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