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Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats

Housing Campaign: Time to Build Outside the Box

Tim Farron has declared a "national emergency" in housing, and nowhere is the need to build more visible than in Brighton & Hove.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to making sure that good-quality affordable housing is delivered in our city. We challenge the assertion that the proposed BHCC-Hyde joint venture is the only means of achieving affordable housing and are extremely concerned that, in the event of an overspend by the joint venture, frontline council services will be hit.

We propose a four-point plan to offer hope to thousands:

1. HOMES: 40% affordable housing is a must

Brighton & Hove City Council must enforce the 40% affordable housing requirement in each new scheme. This is the council's own target but it has become routine for developers to underdeliver. The council extracting money in exchange for missed targets does nothing to provide the affordable homes we so desperately need.

2. OPENNESS: open, democratic, transparent planning

In order to build the homes we need, residents need to feel included and passionate about the changes, and this can't happen if decisions are made behind closed doors. The secretive process used by Labour, Conservative and Green councillors for the King Alfred development was a disgrace. With no sign of the promised public consultation, it is time to scrap the scheme and start again with a clear, transparent process. The public have every right to participate in the future of the city and we need a fresh start at King Alfred.

3. PARTNERSHIPS: working with the right partners to secure the best deal

The council must be open-minded to working with other partners. The 1,000 homes resulting from the proposed Joint Venture with Hyde falls far short of the 12,000+ needed by 2030 and means staking £53 million of taxpayers' money with, as yet, not a single site identified. Working with other partners in the city must be explored, particularly in situations where the developer would contribute the build if the council contributes the land, so that there are no demands on the general fund or risk to frontline council services.

4. ECO-HOUSING: environmentally friendly and economical to run

Ecological housing is good for the environment and good for the people who live in them. It can apply to new-build housing and the refurbishment of existing buildings. The use of insulation, double glazing and efficient heating systems helps to reduce energy bills for households into the future, whilst use of sustainable and recycled building materials, where practical, can help the environment. Building new housing or converting older buildings near public transport and community facilities reduces the need to make as many car journeys, whilst for new developments, public transport links are an absolute must.

Next steps...

PETITION

We have a petition at http://liberalbrighton.org/housing-petition calling for the council to meet their own 40% affordable housing requirements. Please sign and share as widely as possible. Our target is to reach 1,250 signatures, at which point it will be present for debate at the next council meeting.

CAMPAIGN GROUP

If you are interested in joining the campaign group, please contact Carrie Hynds.