A neglected and run down building that formed part of the backdrop to recent anti-squatting legislation has been refurbished and brought back into use. The property in central Hove has been empty since 2009, attracting anti-social behaviour, a police raid and two episodes of squatting which resulted in thousands of pounds worth of damage.
However, following significant investment by local charity Seaside Homes, the building has been redeveloped into six flats which will be let to people in housing need at sub-market rents.
The redevelopment is part of a partnership programme between Seaside Homes, Brighton & Hove City Council and Mears PLC to redevelop and refurbish 499 former council properties over 5 years. Seaside Homes started redeveloping empty homes in November 2011 and has since brought 327 properties back into use, in the process raising nearly £17m for Brighton & Hove City Council to bring council properties up to Decent Homes standards. Seaside is currently refurbishing a further 24.
Chair of Seaside Homes John Regan said, “We are very pleased with the speed with which we have been able to bring so many properties back into use. The key to this is our partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council and Mears and the cross-party support we have received from local councillors”.
Hove MP Mike Weatherley, architect of recent anti-squatting legislation, was given a tour of the property to see the standard to which the properties are being refurbished. Mr Weatherley said: “It’s great to see this building being put to good use after being misused and neglected for so long. If we are to meet the challenges of providing affordable housing for future generations we must use innovative new business models like Seaside’s. I commend their effort and the local councillors of all parties that have worked together to make this partnership successful”.