D-day for flats plan to house 104 local families

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Councillors are due to decide next week whether to grant planning permission to build low-cost homes for 104 local working families on disused land in Portslade, writes the Local Democracy Reporter.

The £20 million scheme consists of two blocks of flats up to seven storeys high on the site of an old equipment store and day centre by the A259 Wellington Road.

Brighton and Hove City Council planning officials have given their backing to the scheme although the two ward councillors for South Portslade have submitted formal objections.

Councillors Les Hamilton and Alan Robins, both Labour, said that the scheme was an overdevelopment.

They criticised the proposal to include just 10 parking spaces in an area where parking was already a problem. The planning application admits that there is a shortfall.

Councillor Hamilton was unimpressed by the inclusion of 154 cycle parking spaces in the plans which also include space for a Brighton Bikeshare hub.

The plans have been submitted by Homes for Brighton and Hove – the £120 million joint venture between the council and Hyde housing association which aims to build 1,000 truly affordable homes.

Half the flats are intended to be rented to local working families and half for shared ownership, with rents linked to the local £9-an-hour living wage.

The scheme is only the joint venture’s second project to come before the council’s Planning Committee.

A proposal to build 242 flats in Coldean was granted permission last month despite objections from neighbours – and work is expected to start in the autumn.

The latest scheme is part of the council’s approach to tackling what has been described as a housing crisis, particularly for affordable homes.

The plans for the site – known as the Belgrave Centre in Clarendon Place – are for 11 studios, 50 one-bedroom flats, 39 two-bedroom flats and four with three bedrooms.

The one-acre site is off the southern end of Station Road, by the A259 coast road and Shoreham Harbour, with shops, buses and Portslade railway station all near.

The flats will be close to an industrial estate, the Small Batch coffee roastery and City Coast Church.

Measures have been included in the plans to keep traffic pollution out of the flats facing Wellington Road which is often choked with traffic at peak periods, including lorries, vans and buses.

The site is in an “air quality management area” – and will also have to be cleared of Japanese knotweed before building work can begin.

The blocks will be finished with buff-coloured bricks and topped off with hundreds of solar panels to generate green energy for the flats.

The plans include a “developer’s contribution” of almost £300,000 towards employment and training, sport and recreation, sustainable transport and education.

About £70,000 of the total has been earmarked for the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA).

A report to the council’s Planning Committee said that 32 people had objected to the original plans, along with the two ward councillors, and the revised scheme attracted a further objection.

The Planning Committee is due to decide whether to grant permission for the scheme at a meeting at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday 4 September.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm and should be open to the public.