At Friday’s meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee, Labour councillors will be challenging the Green administration to negotiate with Royal Mail to secure sites to build sorely-needed affordable homes.
Labour are dismayed at the proposals being brought forward by the Greens, which would see the council sell off key land in Patcham to the Royal Mail, without negotiating to secure sites in return in order to build affordable homes.
The Royal Mail are seeking to purchase council land in Patcham to build a new sorting office, which would replace the two existing sorting offices in Denmark Villas, Hove, and North Road, Brighton, as part of their modernisation project.
Labour councillors see this as a real one off opportunity for the council to purchase one or both of these sites from the Royal Mail, as part of the negotiations for the sale of the land in Patcham. This would provide the council with ideal sites to build more genuinely affordable homes to meet the severe housing shortage in the city.
Labour councillors are disappointed with the Greens’ timid approach, which seeks to prioritise the short-term gains from selling off the family silverware, over meeting the demands of residents and tackling the housing crisis head on – which means seizing every possible opportunity to build more genuinely affordable homes.
The Labour Group is clear that tackling the housing crisis and building more affordable homes for local people is central to our mission, and it should be of vital importance to all councillors. Selling off council assets and land, without negotiating to extract sites in return to build affordable homes is short-sighted and frankly a dereliction of duties to any party serious about addressing the housing need in Brighton & Hove.
Labour will look to bring forward their own proposals on Friday, which will involve negotiating with the Royal Mail in order to secure one or both of the Denmark Villas and North Road sites in order to build more affordable homes to meet our dire local housing need.
Labour’s co-leaders of the opposition, Cllr Appich and Cllr Allcock, said:
“It is clear for anyone to see that we have an acute housing crisis in Brighton & Hove, and a severe shortage of affordable homes to meet the demand of local residents.
“This shortage is resulting in people being forced out of the city because they simply cannot afford to live here, with rents and house prices soaring, along with inflation whilst wages lag behind.
“In the Labour Group, we are doing all we can to combat this housing crisis. We delivered hundreds of additional council and affordable homes whilst we were in office. From opposition, we continue to come up with new policies and proposals to meet the housing needs in the city, from banning second homes, to regulating airbnbs, to snapping up appropriate sites.
“We are disappointed the Green administration doesn’t think the same way. This latest example doesn’t fill us with confidence – happily selling off the family silverware in the form of council land in Patcham, without even trying to first secure ownership of the other Royal Mail sites in return, in order to build affordable homes.
“We hope our plans will win support on Friday. If there is a chance to secure land for affordable housing, we’d be mad to willingly pass up on that. We’ve got to at least try. Otherwise, we might as well all pack up and go home and let private developers buy up all available land in this city and build properties that local people can’t afford.”