Housing Campaign: Time to Build Outside the Box
We are in the grip of a national housing crisis, and nowhere is the need for affordable homes 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:
HOMES: we need truly affordable housing
Brighton & Hove City Council have repeatedly failed to enforce the 40% affordable housing requirement in each new scheme of 15+ units. The council extracting money in exchange for missed targets does nothing to provide the homes we so desperately need, and the definition of "affordable" has been stretched to absurdity. We need to make sure every newly approved scheme helps solve the housing crisis rather than worsening it. The New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme should be expanded beyond infill sites, to build homes for rent on council-owned land on a larger scale and tackle the housing waiting list. Our suggestion is to make better use of the land currently occupied by Hollingbury golf course.
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.
PARTNERSHIPS: working with the right partners to secure the best deal
The council must be open-minded to working with other partners. Its current list of "preferred" partners is too short and includes firms which now have a track record of going back on their agreements. 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. Companies are finding innovative ways to build which must be explored. If Lewes can do it, why not Brighton & Hove?
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.
Our proposal: fair homes in Hollingbury
The Liberal Democrats have made a national pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year, including badly-needed council stock, and give local authorities the power to end right-to-buy. Our proposed local solution is outlined here: please fill in the consultation and let us know what you think.
Know your renters' rights
If you're renting you may have more rights than you realise. Read our summary of them here.
In January 2018, we presented a petition with 1,095 signatures to the council, calling for them to meet their 40% affordable housing target and for more transparency in the process. Find out what happened next.