A UNIQUE deal between the council and a housing association to build 1,000 affordable homes is finally set to be signed today, The Argus can reveal.

The “Joint Venture” between Brighton and Hove City Council and Hyde will see the local authority spend almost £60 million, with the same amount coming from the housing company.

Half the homes will be for rent and 500 will be available for shared ownership.

Hyde development director Tom Shaw said the legal paperwork was expected to be signed by today or tomorrow.

He said: “It’s tremendously exciting. We would expect to get a spade in the ground next year, although that’s optimistic.”

The scheme has suffered delays since being announced in October 2015. Debates last year held up the scheme after Tory and Green councillors voiced concerns the plan was being rushed through. But Hyde believes cross-party scrutiny has substantially improved the plan. Mr Shaw said: “It’s been a good bit of cross-party working, it wasn’t just a Labour initiative. The Greens and Conservatives got involved and helped shape the scheme.”

He praised Green councillor David Gibson for helping adjust planned rent levels down from initial proposals.

Under the terms of the scheme, the first of its kind in the country, the cost of the proposed houses to tenants will be based on a formula starting at 37.5 per cent of the income of a resident earning the £9 per hour living wage.

A studio apartment will be expected to cost £118 per week (£511 per month). At the other end of the scale, a three-bedroom property will cost £207 per week (£897 per month). The council’s £60 million investment will come from receipts from the long-term lease of the land, or from a loan from the Public Works Loans Board.

A business plan forecasts receipts from the sale and lease of the properties will generate profit for both parties. The first three of the scheme’s sites have been identified, with 300 to 400 homes anticipated to be built across the three locations.

They are the former Belgrave Day Centre, in Clarendon Place, Portslade, a parcel of land in Coldean Lane, North Varley Halls, Brighton, and land adjoining Brighton Racecourse on the North Whitehawk Urban Fringe Site. Planning applications are due early next year. Council leader Warren Morgan said: “This is a real first of its kind, which will help to meet housing needs for years to come.”

“This is an exciting time for Brighton and Hove City Council.

“It is our commitment to providing genuinely affordable homes for local people who are working hard and struggling to get by that has driven us on.

“The 1000 affordable homes are needed for the staff that run our public services and local businesses.

“This is the biggest housing delivery project in the city in a generation and it is truly innovative.”