Topping out as new council housing scheme takes shape

A ‘topping out’ ceremony was held on Thursday 2 December at a development of 42 new council homes in Victoria Road, Portslade.

A mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats are being built on the site behind Portslade Town Hall as part of our work to provide more low cost housing in the city.

We’re working with Morgan Sindall Construction to build the new homes. Building work started earlier this year and is due to be completed next autumn. 

At the topping out ceremony, Councillors David Gibson and Siriol Hugh-Jones, co-chairs of the Housing Committee, marked the development reaching its highest point and got a bird’s eye view of progress from the roof.

The project is one of the largest so far in our New Homes for Neighbourhoods (NHFN) building programme, which is providing more council homes across the city. 

All the homes will be let to people on the council’s housing register.

Sustainability features

The Victoria Road development will be the first new council housing project in the city with a ground source heat pump system to provide heating and hot water for residents, as part of our commitment to cut carbon emissions.

And the homes will benefit from other sustainability features as well, including a light gauge steel frame, solar panels and high levels of insulation.

There will be a landscaped communal garden for residents with raised planters, trees, a small orchard, seating, and grass amenity space, plus living walls on six elevations of the blocks of flats which will be watered with recycled rainwater.  

The scheme will also provide a new civic outdoor space with trees and seating for people using Portslade Town Hall.

The new homes taking shape - photo courtesy of Jon Rigby/Brighton Independent.

New sports pavilion

The flats are being built on the site of a former housing office and bowls club.

A new sports pavilion has already been built and opened nearby in Victoria Recreation Ground to provide a new home for Portslade Bowls Club. 

Facilities at the pavilion include an outdoor artificial all-weather bowling green, a short mat indoor bowls area, changing rooms, and a kitchen. 

It also incorporates football changing rooms and kiosk for serving refreshments for people attending football matches at Victoria Recreation Ground.

Groundbreaking project

Councillor David Gibson, co-chair of the Housing Committee, said: “It is exciting to see these new council homes becoming a reality.

“This is a groundbreaking project – the homes have been designed to go further than previous projects towards the council’s carbon neutral targets for 2030, including the first ground source heat pumps achieved on a council housing scheme.

“For the first time, we’re carrying out a full carbon assessment on this housing development and we’ll then be able to use the scheme as a benchmark to improve upon for our future council housing developments.

“When the flats are completed next year, the residents can look forward to low energy bills and high-quality homes.” 

“As well as high sustainability standards, I am delighted that this innovative project provides a big boost of 42 additional affordable council homes - building on the 200 plus additional homes delivered in our first two years to help address the housing crisis facing low-income households in our city.”

Councillor Gill Williams, the opposition lead for housing, said: “It’s great to see these new homes taking shape. 

“The development will give a new lease of life to a council-owned site and every one of the flats will make a real difference to the residents who move into them.

"The scheme is already bringing wider benefits, with improved sports facilities in Victoria Recreation Ground.” 

The Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction’s Southern Home Counties business, Guy Hannell, said: "The topping out ceremony marked an exciting milestone in the Victoria Road project and it was a great opportunity to highlight the many benefits that this site will provide to the local area, both during its construction and once it’s complete.

“The high-quality, sustainable design of the Victoria Road development will ensure that the growing community will have contemporary, affordable housing for its residents. 

“At Morgan Sindall Construction, we’re committed to enriching the communities that sit at the heart of our projects, and we look forward to continuing our engagement with all the stakeholders on this scheme and others, including the close working relationship we enjoy with Brighton & Hove City Council.” 

Providing more council homes

The Victoria Road development is part of a package of measures to provide much-needed additional homes in the city, including: 

New Homes for Neighbourhoods

Other recent NHFN developments include 30 flats completed at Hawkridge Court, Selsfield Drive, Brighton, last year and 12 flats in Buckley Close, Hangleton.

Homes for Brighton & Hove  

A total of 242 low cost homes are being built in Coldean Lane, Coldean, in a development by Homes for Brighton & Hove, a partnership of the council and housing association, the Hyde Group, and 104 homes are being built in Wellington Road, Portslade. 

More than half will be available for rent from the council, the others will be available to buy through a shared ownership scheme with Hyde. The first homes are due to be ready in 2023.  

Moulsecoomb housing & community hub proposals

Plans are progressing for a new community hub and more than 200 council homes on a number of underused sites in Moulsecoomb. We have Housing Committee approval to go the planning stage and aim to submit the application early next year.

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