One of the key planks in the new council plan for a better Brighton & Hove for all is to deliver accessible, affordable and high-quality homes in Brighton & Hove.
Access to decent quality, affordable housing is key to people’s wellbeing. A place to live should be a basic human right.
We know that some people who grew up here leave because they can’t afford to rent or buy in the city. Standards in some private rented homes are unacceptably low and more people than ever are at risk of homelessness.
Housing supply in the city is limited and housing is expensive. The plan sets outs to ensure that best use is made of our land and properties because we don’t have enough homes for all those who want to live here.
Accessible, affordable and high-quality homes
Councillor Gill Williams, chair of the Housing and New Homes Committee, said: “We believe it is everyone’s right to have somewhere decent to live, and our goal is to deliver accessible, affordable and high-quality homes in Brighton & Hove for the people who live here.
“Our plan is based on the 3 key areas of improving housing quality, increasing housing supply and improving housing support for residents
“There is no doubt that we are facing a housing crisis like no other. Across the country, there are now 104,510 households living in temporary accommodation.
“It’s clear the national housing crisis has a serious impact in Brighton & Hove.
“We’re seeing record numbers of people presenting as either homeless or threatened with homelessness. This puts additional pressures on services which are already stretched to their limit.
“But our commitment to residents is consistent. When people come to us early, we’re preventing homelessness in two-thirds of cases. This is up from just over half for the same time last year.
“We’re also bucking the national trend, with fewer people living in temporary accommodation than a year ago.
Increasing council housing
“We are pro-active in our approach to secure more social housing.
“Last month, we approved the purchase of a new development in Whitehawk, which we're aiming to be 38 new council homes let at social rents.
“This is in addition to our commitment to delivering 352 new affordable homes this financial year.
“We’ve recently seen the first ‘Homes for Brighton & Hove’ development completed at Clarendon Place, delivering 104 council-rented and shared ownership homes. The partnership is also building 242 low-cost homes in Coldean, which include a 127 council-rented homes, due for completion this winter.
“We will also continue to buy back council homes lost under the Right to Buy through our Homes Purchase Policy.
“We are also committed to improving the sustainability of our council housing, which will reduce bills for tenants and contribute to the city’s net zero ambition.
“Investment in improving the energy of existing council homes will see up to 1,000 new solar panel systems installed over the next 3 years, while new council homes will be built with energy efficiency measures as standard.
“An example of this is our recently completed ‘New Homes for Neighbourhoods’ development at Victoria Road, Portslade which provides 42 new energy-efficient council homes, and which recently won an Unlock Net Zero Award.
“The scheme includes ground source heat pumps for heating, solar panels for electricity and planted ‘living’ walls to encourage biodiversity. This is what the future of council housing looks like.
“While this is heartening, we need to do more. Right now, we do not have enough council housing, and we cannot give a home to everyone who needs one.
“There are over 7,000 households on our waiting list and countless more people who are struggling to afford or even find a decent home.
“As a priority we must seek ways of increasing decent and affordable housing supply. We are looking at ways to use the land and the properties we own and see how we can build or convert property into truly affordable homes.
Improving private rented homes
“A second priority is to tackle problems that exist in the city’s private rented homes in the city.
“Time and again we hear from residents about their poor experiences with landlords and uninterested letting agents, who fail to maintain their property and force tenants to live in sometimes disgusting, unhabitable conditions.
“Tenants in the private sector often live with the fear of eviction or having their deposit withheld if they raise an issue. Many live with the uncertainty of short-term contracts or break clauses used to evict them at short notice.
“We know that not all landlords behave like this, we will work with landlords to improve the quality of rental accommodation.
“Key to our strategy is landlord licensing and the licensing of Houses of Multiple Occupancy, usually let as bedsits, which will tackle the problem of rogue landlords who fail to maintain their properties.
“While we may not be able to do all we’d want to solve a national crisis, we do have plans that are bold, radical and exciting to improve housing for a better Brighton & Hove.”