HOUSING for more than 4,000 students is planned for the city, in what one councillor has branded an “invasion”.

These homes are spread across developments such as the £200 million Preston Barracks project in Lewes Road and the £130 million Circus Street Complex in central Brighton.

Dawn Barnett, Conservative councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, believes families are being “left behind” as prime real estate is being used to provide bedrooms for students.

She said: “It is like an invasion and it’s Brighton families that will have to move out.”

A total of 4,110 student bedrooms are currently planned across Brighton and Hove, 3,861 of which are already being built.

Meanwhile 684 affordable flats are currently planned for the city.

It is like an invasion and it’s Brighton families that will have to move out - Cllr Dawn Barnett

The council says building more affordable housing is one of its main aims and it has increased year on year since 2015.

Cllr Barnett said: “The students put nothing into the community in tax and half the time, not all the time, they bring a lot of problems. We need homes for our people who are struggling.”

Cllr Barnett branded the planned works a “disgrace”.

She added that a planned student development on the site of the Co-op supermarket in London Road would become a “slum” and the Circus Street project would become a “ghetto”.

Cllr Barnett believes the sites could be better used to house families or elderly people.

She said: “I get a lot of people ask me ‘why aren’t they building for us?’ ‘Why are they building more student flats?’.

“Like me, they’re fed up with student flats, student flats, student flats.”

The Argus:

Above, the Circus Street development is providing 450 student bedrooms

Cllr Barnett believes the planned works will drive up rental costs, pricing local families out of the city.

She said: “Families are having to suffer in temporary or private accommodation.

“They can’t find a home and this can cause problems with mental health for them.

“This needs to be said.

“Universities should build on their own land and get students out of the centre of the town.

“Let’s put our own people first, not the students who are only here for a couple of years.”

Many students in the city currently live in shared houses.

These houses are officially known as houses in multiple occupation, or HMOs.

The Argus:

Above, map of HMOs in Brighton and Hove

They are popular with landlords who can earn more money in rent than they could from single tenants.

But neighbouring residents have complained the properties make their lives a “living nightmare”.

The council is now cracking down on these shared houses and introduced tighter restrictions in January.

Let’s put our own people first, not the students who are only here for a couple of years - Cllr Dawn Barnett

Conservative Councillor Mary Mears has echoed Cllr Barnett’s concerns. 

The ex-council leader said the central sites, with easy access to facilities, should be used to house elderly residents who can easily become lonely and isolated.

She said: “I think we are set on a dangerous course for the city.

The Argus:

Above, Cllr Mary Mears

“It’s a double-edged sword because if younger people move out from the city, they’ll leave their older parents.

“When you start looking at the knock-on effects, it’s going to be detrimental in many areas.

“There is a large disconnect between the residents in the city and students. 

“Where do our young families and people on low incomes go when they’re pushed from the city?”

Cllr Mears said a “financially viable” development for elderly residents had previously been planned for the Co-op site in London Road.

But she claims it was changed to provide housing for students instead, when the Labour administration took over.

The Argus:

Above, plans for Co-op site include 232 student bedrooms

She said: “That was our ambition. I was devastated and deeply disappointed. 

“People are born and bred in the city and then they’re priced out, and that is wrong.”

In 2015, affordable housing for rent was being completed at a rate of 34 flats a year in the city.

By 2017, this figure had almost trebled to 96 a year.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are planning to develop 500 new council rented homes over the next few years.

“These are likely to be a mix of one, two and three bedroom properties.

“The council is building affordable homes for families through its New Homes for Neighbourhoods Programme and through the Homes for Brighton and Hove partnership with Hyde. 

“The council does not build housing for students, but has a duty through its planning policies to look at all of the accommodation requirements in the city and to address these different needs.”

Do you have concerns about the number of student properties in Brighton and Hove? 

Get in contact at jody.doherty-cove@theargus.co.uk.

Five projects which aim to bring more student housing to the city:

The following projects - in different stages of development - may provide more than 2,000 student homes to the city. 

1) Circus Street Project, Circus Street (450 bedrooms)

The Argus:

THE development in central Brighton is set to provide new homes and 450 student bedrooms. 

Circus Street will include The Dance Space, a new home for South East Dance, alongside 142 new homes, including 28 affordable, 450 student bedrooms in managed student halls of residence and 30,000 square feet of new office space.

The first buildings will be ready in spring 2020.

The whole site is expected to be completed in spring 2020. >> READ MORE

2) Preston Barracks, Lewes Road (1,338 bedrooms)

The Argus:

THE Preston Barracks site in Lewes Road includes 369 new homes, some of which will be classed as affordable housing.

And there will be 1,338 student bedrooms in halls of residence.

Work on site began last month and will be completed by summer 2020.

There is a mixture of cluster and studio rooms alongside shared lounge and kitchen spaces.

Residents are warning that “studentification” of their neighbourhood has now reached its peak. >> READ MORE

3) Hollingdean Road, Hollingdean (88 flats)

The Argus:

DEVELOPERS are hoping to build a six-storey block in Hollingdean Road near the Vogue Gyratory.

The block, which includes 88 more student flats, would be built behind homes on the busy road, fronted by a gatehouse designed to match the existing buildings.

A report said that the height, position, form and scaling of the proposed building would make it “overly dominant”. Four people have objected to the scheme and 46 letters of support have been received by students using pre-printed sheets. >> READ MORE

4) Co-op supermarket, London Road (232 bedrooms)

The Argus:

PROPOSALS have been put forward to demolish the Co-op supermarket in London Road and build 232 student rooms.

If approved, the new block would have retail space on the ground floor. 

Planners have advised councillors to approve the scheme, which includes a launderette, gym and student lounge.

But neighbours have raised concerns about the height of the building.

Other objections include concerns about the increasing number of students moving into the area. >> READ MORE

5) Moulsecoomb Way, Moulsecoomb (400 bedrooms)

The Argus:

THERE is a proposal to build 400 student flats in Moulsecoomb Way, Moulsecoomb.

The development would be within walking distance of both the University of Brighton and Sussex University campuses.

The development will be on a site currently occupied by a waste management facility Kingspan, which is still operating. 

Proposals include 1,000 square metres of “employment space”.

Residents say the development will bring more pollution to the area. >>READ MORE

FOI findings 

The Argus: