Living wage homes get the go ahead in joint venture

A view of residential Brighton and Hove
A view of residential Brighton and Hove

Rents would be set at around 40 per cent of the ‘living wage’ paycheck.

The first stage of a £105 million scheme to build 1,000 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership was agreed by councillors on Wednesday, although concerns about the details remained.

The scheme, an joint venture between Brighton and Hove City Council and housing association Hyde, is set to provide affordable homes for those on the ‘living wage’ (£8.25 per hour).

In these homes, rents would be set at around 40 per cent of the ‘living wage’ paycheck.

The move is in response to a housing crisis in the city, which has more than 23,000 households on the council housing register, 1,800 households in temporary accommodation and rising homelessness.

The matter was deferred from the last housing committee, as Conservative and Green councillors were concerned that there were not enough details in the plans.

Members of the opposition groups continued to express concerns on Wednesday, over where the homes would be built, affordability, and how the scheme will be scrutinised.

Conservative councillor Steve Bell had a range of concerns over the scheme, including the lack of councillor involvement in the plans, and said this hindered elected members’ ability to protect taxpayers’ money.

Green councillor David Gibson remained worried that the homes would actually be affordable, but said: “I think it’s an imaginative and exciting proposal and has a lot of benefits.”

After a long discussion, and a number of amendments by the Greens and Conservatives, the first stage of the plan was agreed.

Labour councillor Peter Atkinson said: “By the very nature of this type of venture there will be ongoing questions that will be answered as we go ahead.”

The plans will now go before the policy, resources and growth committee, asking it to give officers permission to develop and negotiate the deal with Hyde.