Which way now, Brighton and Hove?
— 8 Jul 2019, 21:36 by Hugh Dennis
Two of your biggest recent residential schemes in the Coldean countryside and Sackville industrial estate tell me you might be lost.
I know the Coldean development has hundreds of affordable flats, but do they have to be all the way out there? Bus passes cost a lot of money and driving into town (and parking) just isn't the answer. I've been a keen cyclist all my life, but Coldean is too far for all these thousands of people to cycle. Good access is lesson number one at property development school. Worst of all, do you really have to encroach onto our beautiful countryside? That's what the volume house-builders do. We're better than that.
Over in Hove, 850 flats on Sackville Industrial estate is a huge number of homes to be squeezed in between the railway, Toys R Us (RIP), Homebase and Furniture Village, and they're joining a big throng of flats near the railway underpass. Such a pity to lose all that commercial space when we could have built homes above and maintain our local GDP. Most of all, we're really disappointed that there's only 10% affordable units. We need more than that.
How about spreading the load? Why not build many hundreds of homes on under-utilised publicly owned land in smaller developments spread across our beloved city? Little Ships's proposed schemes have an average size of 10 units per site and will allow the city to gradually grow its amenities and services without creating hotspots of demand and under-supply. They'll be on scores of locations across the city and they're on land that is available NOW.
We know you're struggling to find places for all the new homes we need, but look a little closer, these little spaces are all around us. If you can't see them, ask an architect, planner or urban designer. Or just help Little Ships and we'll buy the land and employ all the people we need to build many hundreds of good quality and diverse homes throughout our fantastic city.
Little Ships may do bigger schemes when we're established, but we won't run before we can walk. Depending on how much support we get, it might take a while to make a big dent in the housing crisis, but at least we know where we're going.