Land Release Fund | Housing and Regeneration in Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove is benefiting from over £800k from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Land Release Fund (LRF), which is managed by the One Public Estate (OPE) programme, to support delivery of affordable housing and regeneration on council owned land.

Region: East, South East
Theme: Land Release Fund & Housing (in OPE)

The challenge

Brighton & Hove is a growing city; its population has increased by approximately 13 per cent over the last decade and now stands at just over 290,000 people and it is expected to rise to 311,500 people by 2030. The city is physically constrained - with the natural boundaries of the sea and the national park restricting outward expansion - and it has a limited legacy of vacant sites, meaning that land for housing is

Aerial photo of Greater Brighton

in relatively short supply. Brighton & Hove’s housing target is reflective of this challenge; with a delivery target of 13,200 homes to 2030 against an objectively assessed need of 30,120 dwellings over that period. The restrictions on space for new development and the city’s limited housing stock have led to demand outstripping supply, fuelling house price inflation.  The city has a median house price affordability ratio of 12.28, above the national average of 7.91. 

The story

 Geoff Raw, Chief Executive Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council

Photo of Geoff Raw Greater Brighton chief executive

“In February 2018, the council secured a LRF award of £819,000 to enable the delivery of three schemes that would not have come forward otherwise. Together, these schemes are on target to provide 84 much needed new affordable rented homes, delivered by the council on council-owned land. The funding is being used to support a range of activities such as site demolition, decontamination, groundworks and service and infrastructure improvement. It is enabling viability and unlocking delivery by filling the funding gap caused by abnormal development costs and project specific complexities. The LRF is clearly supporting the council to deliver its housing supply and affordability priorities.”

Kensington Street, Brighton

The project has, in partnership with The Guinness Trust, developed 12 new council homes on three former car parking sites in the central North Laine area of the city. The site was covered in graffiti and attracted anti-social behaviour. It was very constrained and required 35 party wall agreements. Construction has been successfully completed and the flats were handed over on 7 August 2019, allowing the first tenants to move in just one week later - with all flats occupied by tenants from the council’s housing register by mid-October 2019. The scheme won the Best Architectural Design category at the South East Construction Awards 2019, which was presented to the scheme architects Baily Garner. As well as the new homes, the scheme has brought regeneration benefits to the street and wider area.

Photo of Greater Brighton Kensington Street graffiti and empty lot
Photo of Kensington road Brighton blue building

Victoria Road, Portslade

The project is building 42 new council homes on the site of a former housing office and adjacent bowling club. The project involves the relocation of the bowls clubhouse and associated facilities into a newly built sports pavilion situated in the nearby Victoria Recreation Ground to unlock further land for housing redevelopment. The sports pavilion will be for use by both the Bowls Club and existing Football Clubs and the facility will also provide a new bowling green and 10 new car park spaces.

Without the injection of LRF, the constrained nature (height restrictions) and the abnormal costs (relocation of the Bowls Club) associated with the site meant it was unlikely to be taken forward by either the private sector or Registered Providers for residential development. The LRF grant has helped the release of more land for a larger residential redevelopment. Construction of the housing scheme is currently due to start in July 2020, with an expected completion in December 2021.

Photo of Victoria Road empty space
Artist graphic of Victoria road empty space

Selsfield Drive, Moulsecoomb

Working with Morgan Sindall, the council’s strategic construction partner, the project will develop 30 new flats on the site of a former housing office. The site has steep level changes, which have necessitated the requirement for several retaining structures. The LRF grant has contributed toward these and other costs, including the diversion of a public sewer, relocation and upgrade of an electricity sub-station, repositioning of BT cables, retention of a Grade A beech tree and the provision of a temporary access road to the site. The planning application was approved in September 2019 and, following completion of the enabling works, construction began in June 2019. It is currently expected that the works will be completed in October 2020.

Photo of Selsfield Drive Greater Brighton empty plot
Selsfield Drive artists impression

The outcomes

Together, the three schemes are set to deliver 84 new council homes on council-owned land. The projects form part of the council’s New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme, which works with local resident associations, ward councillors, council staff and partners to improve council estates and neighbourhoods whilst making best use of council housing land and buildings to deliver new, affordable rented homes. Since its inception in summer 2015, the programme has completed 13 schemes delivering 196 new homes and it has an identified pipeline of sites for up to 650 homes. The programme designs and builds all homes to Lifetime Homes standard and at least 10 per cent are designed for wheelchair users. They also have high sustainability standards, reducing energy bills.

Further information

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for the East, South East.