Residents have spoken of their joy after the ribbon was cut on the first council homes built in Brighton and Hove for more than 20 years.
Fifteen new homes were unveiled in Wellington Road, Brighton this week, marking the culmination of a historic £1.6 million renovation of a derelict site.
The local authority hopes the homes will be the first of many with proposals for another 75 council-built homes in development.
Balchin Court has been developed on the site of former sheltered housing scheme and squat Ainsworth House, which had been unoccupied for about 18 months.
The site contains three four-bedroom family houses with gardens, two wheelchair accessible with gardens and 10 one and two-bed flats.
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The council said the new homes were a response to the huge housing demand in the city with 17,000 applicants on the housing register and a shortage of family-sized homes with hundreds of families waiting for four bed homes.
All the homes are owned and managed by the council, built on council land and funded mainly by the local authority with additional funding from the Government’s Homes and Community Agency.
In addition to these new homes, the council has made a bid for Government funding to build 45 extra-care flats and are working on plans for another 30 council homes on other small sites.
In memory One of the new residents is Geraldine English who was widowed seven years ago and was looking to downsize after her six children moved out of her family home.
She said: “It’s a delightful flat and it’s so much more economical and I love the view from my balcony.”
Balchin Court has been named after the late tenant rep Brian Balchin, a member of the original Building New Council Homes group, who died at the end of 2011.
His daughter, Paula Carter, said: “I am so proud of my Dad, he would have been on top of the world to see this day.
“He really loved to help people, and it is fitting that this great development has been named after him.”
Green Councillor Bill Randall, chairman of the housing committee, said: “Balchin Court is the first development of new council homes for decades in the city that we have delivered through close work with our tenants.
“Not only are these top quality homes that meet tough environmental and security standards with some fully wheelchair accessible but where possible we have used local labour and apprenticeships.”