Greens urge Council to press for truly affordable housing from hospital building sale

17 July 2018

Greens urge Council to press for truly affordable housing from hospital building sale

Benefits of sale of publicly-owned building should be felt by residents and NHS staff, not private developers, say Greens and local campaigners

The Green Group of Councillors are urging Brighton and Hove City Council to speak out in favour of truly affordable housing at the Brighton General Site.

Plans for the redevelopment of Brighton General Hospital site by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) detail several options for its regeneration, including a new community health hub, and the possibility of selling surplus land to private developers for housing.

However Greens have expressed concern that the public land could go to private developers, who are not required to provide more than 40% affordable housing.

A set of proposals from the Greens going to a meeting of Full Council on Thursday call on the Council to look in to the availability of land at the site, and options for its development into 100% affordable housing for residents and NHS key workers. Alongside local campaigners Sussex Defend the NHS, Greens call for the public asset to be retained for public good. [2]

Green housing spokesperson David Gibson commented:

“The General Hospital site is publicly-owned and our proposals call for a public asset to be retained for public good, particularly in the form of truly affordable housing. The first priority needs to be providing health services, but given that there will be some surplus land, we are keen to see the Trust taking this opportunity to facilitate the provision of publicly-owned housing. This means we could get 100% affordable homes for key workers and address the city’s huge housing need.

“We understand that the NHS needs to be paid a commercial rate for any land it sells, but this is within the means of the Council, a community land trust, or the joint venture between the Council and Hyde Homes who would provide 100% affordable homes. However if the sale goes through to private housing developers at least 60% of homes would be unaffordable. With rents and house prices continuing to rise in our city, it’s vital this opportunity for affordable homes is seized, so we are hoping the Council will agree to back these calls on Thursday.” [3]

Madeleine Dickens, spokesperson from Sussex Defend the NHS, said:

“Truly affordable housing for Brighton & Hove residents, especially key public sector workers, is clearly desperately needed. We would also urge the council to challenge Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and the local Clinical Commissioning Group when they say there is no NHS or social care use for this NHS land. We urgently need to see some details – financial and service – with these proposals.”

A recent report by the Public Accounts committee cited the lack of affordable homes as a major impediment to the supply of permanent key workers in the NHS, particularly in areas where it is too expensive to rent and buy property. Brighton and Hove remains one of the least affordable places to live in the UK, according to the ‘Affordable Cities Review’ by Lloyds Bank.

The Green ‘Notice of Motion’ will be put to a vote at a meeting of Full Council, Thursday 19th July. [4]


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