28 October 2015

Dozens of homes for rent at old Whitehawk library site

Dozens of affordable homes will be built on the former site of Whitehawk Library in east Brighton, following permission being granted today at planning committee (October 28 2015)

The development, by the city council itself, is part of its New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme, which is building 500 much-needed new affordable homes on council-owned land.  

The library has since relocated to new premises at the Whitehawk Community Hub in Whitehwak Road, opened in 2011.

Plans feature two blocks providing 57 flats.  Exact tenure arrangements are to be finalised.  It is possible all could be available for affordable rent by local families on the waiting list.  Alternatively some could be sold on the open market depending on the final financial viability of the scheme, but at least half will be rented.

Standing between four and five storeys, the buildings would be finished in buff blockwork, with frameless glass balconies and solar panels on the flat roofs.

There would be 10 one-bed flats, 33 two-beds and 14 three-beds.  Five units would be wheelchair accessible.  There would be 15 car parking spaces, plus five disabled spaces, along with over 100 cycle racks, both indoors and out.

Around 80 local residents attended a ‘Planning for Real’ exercise at the new Whitehawk Library.  They gave feedback on the design and highlighted community issues which are now being taken forward by Due East Neighbourhood Council. 

A previous design was amended to protect mature elm trees on the site, at the junction of Findon Road and Whitehawk Road.

Permission is subject to a planning agreement in which the council will invest locally £55,000 on transport improvements.  Each household would also get two years free membership of the City Car Club.  £116,000 would be contributed to local schools, £28,500 on employment initiatives and £181,000 to improve open space recreation.

Chair of the council’s housing and new homes committee Cllr Anne Meadows said:  “It’s a very welcome decision by the planning committee.  This shows us delivering on our New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme, and the council making much more efficient use of scarce land to benefit local families.  As well as the homes, the council is investing substantial sums in the area for things like transport, schools and parks.”