A former housing office in Oxford Street, Brighton, has been transformed into 10 energy-efficient new temporary council homes.
The development is made up of one and two-bedroom flats and includes two fully wheelchair accessible properties.
The homes will be used to provide temporary accommodation for people in housing need.
The building was already called George Cooper House, after a former tenant representative in the area, and it will keep this name.
The new flats are part of a range of projects providing much-needed extra council housing - in the last three years more than 300 additional council homes have been provided across the city.
Residents will benefit from sustainability features built into the design of the homes at George Cooper House.
Solar panels on the roof will provide a renewable source of electricity for eight of the flats.
This is the first council housing conversion project in the city where solar panels feed directly into flats - rather than into communal electricity supplies and the national grid - helping to reduce energy bills for residents.
The solar panels were provided as part of the council’s EU funded Solarise project.
Six of the flats will benefit from having an air source heat pump, which will extract warmth from the outdoor air and use it to provide hot water and heating.
All the homes are built to a high level of energy efficiency and designed to help keep heat in and keep bills low.
These sustainability features are part of our action to cut emissions and become a carbon neutral city by 2030.
High quality homes
Councillor David Gibson, co-chair of the Housing Committee, said: “Providing more council homes is a top priority for us and George Cooper House is an example of how we are coming up with innovative ways of doing this.
“An office building has been given a new lease of life to create high quality homes for ten households. Thanks to creative initiatives such as this we are now achieving on average over 100 additional council homes a year.
“This is a significant step change meaning the council is making a major contribution to affordable housing, doubling previous council performance, achieving more than all the city’s housing associations put together and doubling our own annual output.
“And at time when energy bills are rising, the high sustainability standards will help to keep bills low for residents and help towards our carbon neutral targets for 2030.”
Councillor Gill Williams, the opposition lead for housing, said: “We hope the new residents will be very happy here. Providing temporary accommodation like this, which we own and run ourselves, means we can offer better support to residents who need it and reduce our reliance on private sector emergency housing.”
Providing more council housing
George Cooper House was converted from an office into homes as part of our Hidden Homes scheme, which is giving a new lease of life to empty or ‘hidden’ spaces within council-owned property.
The scheme is part of a package of different measures, outlined below, to provide more council homes to let to people on the local housing register.
New Homes for Neighbourhoods
Our New Homes for Neighbourhoods (NHFN) building programme is providing new council homes on council-owned sites.
A total of 42 new council flats are currently under construction in Victoria Road, Portslade and due to be completed later this year.
We’ve built 227 new homes under the programme so far since the project began, and there are more in the pipeline.
Plans are progressing for a new community hub and more than 200 council homes on a number of underused sites in Moulsecoomb, and a planning application is due to be submitted this spring.
On the Bristol Estate in Brighton, former drying areas and bin rooms at blocks of flats have been transformed to create eight more council homes - a mix of studios, one and two-bedroom flats.
Completed projects include three flats at Swallow Court, Whitehawk, created by converting a former office, and two extra flats at Elwyn Jones Court seniors housing scheme in Patcham.
Home Purchase Policy
Around 200 homes have been brought back into council ownership through our Home Purchase Policy scheme. If you are interested in selling your home to the council, you can find more information on our Home Purchase page.
We are increasing the amount of council-owned temporary housing, to reduce the need to house people in privately-owned accommodation.
Last year residents moved into a block of 38 flats in Hartington Road, Brighton, purchased by the council to provide temporary homes for people in housing need.
The accommodation was recently named ‘Manoj House’, following an engagement with the local community and primary school. The name commemorates Manoj Natha-Hansen, a teacher at St Martin’s Primary School who sadly died suddenly in September 2020.
Homes for Brighton & Hove
A total of 242 homes are being built in Coldean Lane, Coldean and 104 in Wellington Road, Portslade, in developments by Homes for Brighton & Hove, a partnership of the council and housing association, the Hyde Group.
More than half will be council-rented homes, with the rest available to buy through a shared ownership scheme from Hyde. They are due to be ready next year.