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News - 4 July 2012

Local housing summit reflects national challenges

Brighton & Hove City Council’s housing summit on Friday chaired by Tony Mernagh from the Economic Partnership outlined the challenges faced by the city and enlisted a panel of expert speakers to explore some possible solutions.

Projected demographics over the next 20 years suggest that the city will need between 16,000 and 19,000 homes to meet demand but providing that many would require using every bit of available land and the conversion of most of our employment space to residential use. This would radically alter the nature of the city effectively making it a dormitory town.

The housing summit was quite clear about the challenges and the limit of solutions that can be provided within the city boundaries - about 11,400 new homes. The summit also discussed the issue of affordable housing which is as much a national problem as it is local.

Terry Fuller – Regional Director of the Homes & Communities Agency – explained how the government quango is allowing house builders to build new homes on government owned land now and pay for the land later in instalments as they sell houses on the open market.

The HCA is intending to spend £1.8 billion on 80,000 housing units between 2011-15 under its Affordable Homes Programme with just under 63,000 (79%) affordable rent tenure and just over 17,000 (21%) for low-cost home ownership. Research for the Town and Country Planning Association showed that 234,000 additional households will form each year over the next 20 years, so demand for affordable housing is set to remain strong and largely unmet at the current rate of construction.

A presentation from GVA explained how it is possible to use the high values of Housing Revenue Account land in the south-east to subsidise construction costs. Brighton & Hove is one of the first councils to start building new social housing.

Director of Public Health, Dr. Tom Scanlon gave an excellent presentation on the effect of housing on public health reaching back into the 1800s to demonstrate how slum clearance had an immediate effect the health of the general populace.

The Q&A session for a panel of expert witnesses included Strategic Director Geoff Raw, Dr. Tom Scanlon, Terry Fuller, Chair of Housing - Cllr. Liz Wakefield, Head of Planning Strategy – Rob Fraser and Housing Commissioner Jugal Sharma. It raised a variety of questions about local supply and demand including is the city being bold enough? how do we work with our neighbours? and is planning part of the problem or the solution?

Access the summary of the event

Read related items on:
Affordable housing
Local scene
Local Development Framework
Brighton & Hove City Council
Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership
Fraser, Rob
Mernagh, Tony
Raw, Geoff
Scanlon, Tom Dr
Wakefield, Liz Cllr.

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