Housing

Achievements > Housing

Brand new council housing on Wellington Road
New council housing on Wellington Road

Earlier this year, the UK hit a 30-year low in new homes being built. Meanwhile the government’s obsession with the ‘Right to Buy’ policy means there are fewer council homes for families on low incomes. This is all the more damaging in Brighton & Hove, where land is in short supply and where 20% of former council homes built for those on low incomes are now owned by landlords renting them out privately at full rental rates. Furthermore, cuts in housing subsidies are putting many new housing association homes beyond the pocket of those in greatest housing need. In the absence of a coherent government social housing programme, and with limited space in the city, we’ve focused on making better use of the properties and development sites we already have.

Bringing empty homes back into use

In the first two years of the Green administration alone we brought more than 500 empty private and council owned homes back into use.

New affordable homes

More than 400 new affordable homes are on site across the city, and a further 256 are in the development pipeline.

Rapid re-letting of council homes

The average time it takes to re-let an empty council home is now just over two weeks – the lowest in many years and one of the best turn-round times in the UK.

No-eviction policy for Bedroom Tax victims

We have won all-party agreement not to evict council tenants solely on the grounds of rent arrears caused by the government’s Bedroom Tax.

New extra-care flats for older people

We’ve been awarded £2.5 million by the Homes and Communities Agency to help fund a £9 million council scheme of 45 extra-care flats for older people as part of a citywide council estate regeneration programme. More than 50 new council homes will be the next stage in the programme.

Reviving dormant development schemes

Development sites that have been languishing have been revived. For example, plans to regenerate the old Circus Street market site – with up to 200 new homes, new offices and a new library – are under way.

HMO licensing scheme

We’ve introduced a licensing scheme to improve safety and public health in smaller houses in multiple occupation. Landlords letting a property for sharing by three or more unrelated people, must bring it up to an agreed standard.

Disabled adaptations

We’ve adapted 1410 private and council owned homes to meet the needs of disabled people in the past two years.

Ended council tax discount on empty and second homes

We’ve ended the council tax discount on second homes, and homes that have been empty for extended periods of time, to encourage owners to bring them back into use.

Extra funding for homelessness services

An extra £1 million has been earmarked for homelessness services this year to help the increasing number of people who’ve found themselves on the streets as the government’s welfare cuts bite. We have also maintained a high level of funding for supported housing.

Energy efficiency grants for people in need

We are running schemes to help vulnerable people make their homes warmer, healthier and more energy efficient. All private tenants or homeowners who are over the age of 60, or who have a disability or long-term health conditions or who are a low-income family, can apply for free new boilers, draught-proofing, insulation or heating system upgrades.

Energy efficiency retro-fitting council housing

Council tenants are benefiting from a major programme of energy efficiency retro-fitting to council blocks which, where possible, include solar panels and new heating systems. As a result, for the first time in living memory, communal heating bills in some council blocks have fallen.

‘Warm Homes Healthy People’ programme

In partnership with the NHS, we run the ‘Warm Homes Healthy People’ programme. This includes a range of services aimed at reducing the city’s annual winter death toll and the serious effects on health, which can be caused by living in cold homes. Advice offered includes benefits, energy tariffs and heating, and insulation grants and discounts.

Saving council tenants money through free advice

Free advice to council tenants has helped nearly 400 people access £350,000 in unclaimed benefits and savings on household bills.