Brighton and Hove’s £1.1 million housing maintenance ‘super-centre’ briefly opened its doors to the critical eyes of residents and community-representatives on Monday.

The site, located in the Fairway trading estate in Eastergate Road, is a collaborative project between Brighton and Hove Council and contractors Mears Ltd. It will act as a single point of contact for all repairs and maintenance inquiries for council houses across Brighton and Hove – some 12,500 homes.

After a short presentation, councillors and representatives of Mears – who have a £200 million ten year contract at the site – led a tour around the still largely empty building and answered any queries that residents and community spokesmen had.

David Gray, Head of Property and Investment for Brighton and Hove said: “It’s all about bringing together residents, counselors and contractors. The important thing is removing the bureaucracy. At the moment all points of contact are spread out across the city. With this facility residents have one point of contact. Everyone and everything will be in the same place.”

The building will house both council and Mears staff and will be energy efficient with onsite renewable energy generation. It will also house an onsite training academy for trade apprentices.

“I think it’s brilliant,” said Barry Kent, a resident of Moulsecoomb. “It’s a really good idea. It’s going to be great for the city and for us. To have everything in one place is going to be incredibly convenient.”

Sam Smith, Programme Manager of Housing Management with Mears, said that work should be completed on the site by February 2011 followed by an opening celebration the following March.

After the tour Ted Harman, Board Director for B&H S C Homes said: “We expect good quality work from Mears. We want them to achieve great things for the community and to deliver satisfaction for the tenants.”

When asked if he had any concerns he said: “I’m not worried. The fact is if we’re not happy we’ll change it. As residents we have the power to say no and find someone else.”

By Oliver Atwell