Brighton and Hove City Council submits plans for £87million housing and neighbourhood hub scheme

The £87 million scheme, to redevelop land in Moulsecoomb, has been worked up by Brighton and Hove City Council over the past seven years.

The council has submitted plans to build more than 200 “affordable” homes, all-weather sports pitches and a “community hub” including a doctors’ surgery.

It said that all 212 proposed homes would be classed as affordable – and the site, in Moulsecoomb, would also include a skate park, public open spaces and a neighbourhood hub.

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The neighbourhood hub would include a library, doctors’ surgery, pharmacy, community café, youth centre, adult learning area and community meeting space.

An artist's impression of the scheme, on land off Hodshrove Road and Hodshrove Lane, Moulsecoomb

The £87 million scheme, to redevelop land off Hodshrove Road and Hodshrove Lane, has been worked up by Brighton and Hove City Council over the past seven years.

The proposed buildings include blocks of flats up to eight storeys high as well as a row of eight semi-detached houses.

Four buildings will be demolished as part of the scheme – the Hillview Centre, the 67 Centre, the Moulsecoomb Hub North and Moulsecoomb Hub South.

More than 220 council-employed social workers and children’s services staff will be transferred to an old school site in High Street, Portlsade, where a £4 million refit is currently under way.

From Hodshrove Lane looking South East towards the hub (and skate park on the lower level)

The council said that the existing hard-surfaced multi-use games areas (MUGAs) to the south of Hodsrove Lane and west of Hodshrove Road would also be scrapped, adding: “The boxing club and the children’s centre will be retained.

“In place of the demolished buildings will be seven apartment blocks, four pairs of semi-detached houses and a community hub. The community hub will provide a library, youth services, adult education, a café and health facilities including a GP surgery. Some of these services will be relocated from demolished buildings.

“A skate park and 3G pitches are also proposed among other recreational facilities woven into the public realm strategy.”

Working with the community

Moulsecoomb Hub from Hodshrove Lane looking into the site (towards the south) with the boxing club to the left, the hub and lower level skate park to the right

Since councillors first agreed to work up a business case for the £80 million investment in Moulsecoomb, officials have worked on the plans with community groups and hundreds of residents.

The council carried out several consultations, working with the Trust for Developing Communities to create a “neighbourhood action plan”.

Officials also held eight “planning for real” sessions in Moulsecoomb in early 2020 when more than 220 people made 1,700 suggestions to try to improve the project.

Their feedback persuaded project planners to redraw the site of the proposed community hub, moving it into the heart of the scheme – and near a “street plaza” for skateboarders.

Last December, a community stakeholder group was set up, including residents and community organisations in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean such as the 67 Centre, the Children’s Centre, Moulsecoomb Boxing Club and the Bevy.

The group is due to meet quarterly with the project team to receive updates and provide feedback from the community.

The formal planning application includes more than 340 documents from drawings to descriptions – and they are all available to view along with the public’s comments on the council’s website here: Simple Search (brighton-hove.gov.uk).

Five objections

There are currently five comments, all objecting to the scheme, with concerns about the lack of parking, loss of light and the effects on local wildlife.

One resident, whose details have been redacted by the council on its website, said: “I can only envisage problems with this. The overshadowing will be immense considering the height of the buildings. While the work is going on, for four years, we will not be able to open our windows or hang washing out because of the dirt and dust and I know this as I have spoken to people living behind such sites.

“This is too big to go in this area. We have lots of wildlife, new fox cubs every year, hedgehogs, squirrels. They will be terrified and where will they go (as will our cats and dogs)?

“The 110 car spaces proposed won’t be enough and Hodshrove Road will be an overflow car park which will cause all sorts of conflict between neighbours from both areas.”

Another objector, whose details were also redacted, said: “This development would cause additional traffic and parking in surrounding roads which are already busy and full with cars as there are multiple HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) in this area.

“Hodshrove Road and Widdicombe Way are bus routes and buses already struggle. It would have a significant detrimental effect on property values and would significantly affect noise pollution in the area due to the skate park, etc.”

The council must go through the same planning process as any other applicant. This includes submitting a planning application and, because of the size of the scheme, awaiting a decision from the council’s Planning Committee.

The committee – made up of elected councillors – is expected to be “quasi-judicial”. It has shown its independence in the past by rejecting planning applications submitted by the council.

To view the application and to comment, visit the planning pages on the council’s website and search for BH2022/01063.

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