To see current Liberal Democrat Policy as announced at our Autumn 2023 conference in Bournemouth click here

Housing Campaign: Time to Build Outside the Box

We are in the grip of a national housing crisis, and nowhere is the need for affordable homes more visible than in Brighton & Hove.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to making sure that good-quality affordable housing is delivered in our city. We challenge the assertion that the proposed BHCC-Hyde joint venture is the only means of achieving affordable housing and are extremely concerned that, in the event of an overspend by the joint venture, frontline council services will be hit.

We propose a four-point plan to offer HOPE to thousands:

HOMES: we need truly affordable housing

Brighton & Hove City Council have repeatedly failed to enforce the 40% affordable housing requirement in each new scheme of 15+ units. The council extracting money in exchange for missed targets does nothing to provide the homes we so desperately need, and the definition of "affordable" has been stretched to absurdity. We need to make sure every newly approved scheme helps solve the housing crisis rather than worsening it. The New Homes for Neighbourhoods programme should be expanded beyond infill sites, to build homes for rent on council-owned land on a larger scale and tackle the housing waiting list.

OPENNESS: open, democratic, transparent planning

In order to build the homes we need, residents need to feel included and passionate about the changes, and this can't happen if decisions are made behind closed doors. The secretive process used by Labour, Conservative and Green councillors for the King Alfred development was a disgrace. With no sign of the promised public consultation, it is time to scrap the scheme and start again with a clear, transparent process.

PARTNERSHIPS: working with the right partners to secure the best deal

The council must be open-minded to working with other partners. Its current list of "preferred" partners is too short and includes firms which now have a track record of going back on their agreements. Working with other partners in the city must be explored, particularly in situations where the developer would contribute the build if the council contributes the land, so that there are no demands on the general fund or risk to frontline council services. Companies are finding innovative ways to build which must be explored.

ECO-HOUSING: environmentally friendly and economical to run

Ecological housing is good for the environment and good for the people who live in them. It can apply to new-build housing and the refurbishment of existing buildings. The use of insulation, double glazing and efficient heating systems helps to reduce energy bills for households into the future, whilst use of sustainable and recycled building materials, where practical, can help the environment. Building new housing or converting older buildings near public transport and community facilities reduces the need to make as many car journeys, whilst for new developments, public transport links are an absolute must.

Know your renters' rights

If you're renting you may have more rights than you realise.

Getting ready for winter

The end of British Summer Time is a sign that we need to prepare for the oncoming winter. The Guardian Newspaper has published an article with a few tips on how to better prepare yourself and avoid spending too much cash on heating the environment rather than yourself. Link