The first tenants will soon be moving into brand new homes in Whitehawk, following completion of the biggest new council housing development in the city in recent years.
Fifty-seven new homes have been built at Kite Place consisting of 10 one-bedroom, 33 two-bedroom and 14 three–bedroom flats.
Each of the properties has a balcony or patio, some with sea views, and they are designed to be energy efficient, with communal boilers providing hot water and heating.
Six of the homes are designed for wheelchair users and their families, with a number of mobility-rated units available for people needing accessible shower rooms. All the rest are built to the latest ‘accessible and adaptable’ standards, with lifts to all floors.
Kite Place is the largest development in the council’s New Homes for Neighbourhoods building programme, which aims to build at least 500 new homes on council land to provide much needed affordable rented housing. Building began in February 2016.
It’s situated off Whitehawk Road, on the site of the former Whitehawk Library which moved to new premises. There are good bus services on the doorstep, plus cycle storage, and a car club vehicle will also be based at the site. The first tenants in each of the flats will receive free car club membership for two years.
The first Kite Place tenants are due to move in over the next few weeks. The homes were let through Homemove, the council’s choice based lettings system.
Another 29 new council flats are nearing completion in Whitehawk at Hobby Place, next to Whitehawk Community Hub. The one, two, and three bedroom homes are due to be finished next month.
Kite Place and Hobby Place will bring the total number of new council homes completed under the New Homes for Neighbourhoods (NHFN) programme since 2015 to 136, with many more in the pipeline.
This is a step in the right direction but much more new and affordable housing is needed if the city is to meet the needs of it’s growing community, and if it is to offset the incessant and incremental price increases that are being stoked by ever increasing demand for housing.
Within the next few months, planning applications are expected to be accepted for the first three sites in the city’s ground- breaking plan to deliver a thousand truly affordable homes across the city, alongside the 500 council homes.
Available for rent or shared ownership, with the homes to rent affordable for those on the National Living Wage, these will meet some of the demand for housing amongst workers in our public sector and key industries currently priced out of living in Brighton and Hove.
Toads Hole Valley north of Hove is the last major site for housing in the city, bounded as we are by the National Park. It offers the potential for over 700 new homes as part of our City Plan. As many of these must be as truly affordable as possible.
Long-standing national policy requires up to 40% of homes to be affordable in new developments. However it uses the 80% of market rates definition of “affordable” which, if it ever was affordable, isn’t now, and especially in high housing cost areas like Brighton & Hove.
Developers push back on providing affordable housing even at this rate, but in truth few in need of housing in Brighton & Hove can afford a home at 80% of market rates.
Westridge Construction won a Considerate Constructors award for community involvement at this site and the artwork by local children and young people won runner-up prize in a hoardings competition run by the Considerate Constructors Scheme.