Shoreham sheltered housing redevelopment secures government funding for brownfield schemes

Adur District Council has been given more than £400,000 of government funding for a Shoreham sheltered housing scheme.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 10:08 am
Ashcroft House in Kingston Lane, Shoreham, is set to be demolished to make way for replacement sheltered housing

It was awarded £407,000 from the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF), a collaboration between central government and the Local Government Association.

The funds will be used towards the redevelopment of Ashcroft House at Kingston Lane.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin (Con, St Nicolas) said: “I am delighted that we have received this money from the Government, to help fund this much needed housing project.

“When completed I hope some of our single tenants occupying three bed homes might transfer to these lovely flats.”

Residents had to be moved out of the sheltered housing scheme in early 2020 after a fire risk assessment found ‘serious issues’.

Upon further inspection, the flats were found to need more fire resistance measures and a layout change for the residents’ safety.

The building on the site is thought to date back to the early 19th century and has housed council tenants since 1982 but ‘does not meet modern sheltered housing standards’ according to the council.

With many alterations needed, the council decided to demolish the main block and redevelop it into a collection of 40 one and two-bed flats. Eight bungalows will be refurbished.

In July, the council’s joint strategic committee agreed to release £540,000 to gain planning permission.

But it is estimated that the total cost will be around £11 million and ADC is seeking £3.6 million in external funding – such as the £407,000 from the BLRF.

Residents who had to move out of their homes in the old block will be offered a place in the new building, said ADC. 

What is the BLRF?

The Brownfield Land Relief Fund aims to award funding so that ‘unloved and disused sites’ can be turned around through demolition and redevelopment.

It is thought that this will help to protect ‘greenfield sites’, or areas of the couuntryside, from development by using pre-developed areas for housing.

The government estimates that 5,600 homes could be built on the sites.

Around £75 million is available from the BLRF and £58 million has been allocated to 53 local authorities to date.

The government hopes the fund will help in the delivery of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

It estimates that 244,000 homes were delivered in 2020 which is the highest number of new homes in more than 30 years.

James Jamieson, Local Government Association chairman , said: “One Public Estate and Brownfield Land Release funding play a crucial role in supporting the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and supporting councils to transform their assets, create better services, and release land for much-needed new homes and regeneration across the country.”

Eleanor Bateman, policy and campaigns officer at Propertymark – a membership organisation for estate agents – said the BLRF could help local authorities overcome housebuilding barriers.

She said: “Historically, a lack of funding has meant that surplus local authority land has not been brought forward for development.

“However, the fact that nearly 80% of the Brownfield Land Release Fund has been taken up shows that councils are keen to release sites that could otherwise be left redundant.

“Today’s figures demonstrate that in order to level up and unlock land for potential housing, there needs to be continued support for councils to overcome the barriers linked to upfront costs.”

She is urging the government to use £20 million of unallocated funds from the custom build fund – which helps people to design and build their own homes – for the One Public Estate programme which is linked to the BLRF.

More information about the One Public Estate programme and the BLRF can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-of-new-homes-to-be-built-and-derelict-land-transformed

Jessica Hubbard , Local Democracy Reporting Service