EIGHT hundred new council homes are among pledges which will “bring real change” to Brighton and Hove.

The city council has unveiled ambitious plans for the next three years.

They include building 800 council homes and buying up 650 empty properties.

In an open letter to residents, leader Nancy Platts said the council could not deliver the plan alone and called on people to “come together” to create a “fairer and sustainable” city.

“This is a plan that’s going to deliver real change across the city,” she wrote.

“This is a plan which clearly says what we’re going to do and it’s a plan you’ll be able to hold us to account to.

“It’s not fanciful and impulsive. It’s not aspirational words that once presented at a council meeting will never be seen again.”

But the plan warned council services are under “huge” pressure because of increased demand and funding cuts.

“Tough choices will have to be made about what the council is able to deliver,” it said.

As expected, action on housing and homelessness take centre stage in the plans.

They details an “emergency plan to expand housing supply” including buying back council homes previously bought by its tenants.

The plan says: “We will buy and build homes to meet a range of housing needs including providing a minimum of 800 additional council homes.

“We will borrow in order to buy land for affordable housing.

“We will develop 700 other new homes that are as affordable as possible.”

The council also pledged to provide a 365-day-per-year night shelter for the homeless and buy up homes to use as temporary emergency accommodation.

It said it would encourage “voluntary contributions from the local tourism industry” to support the homeless.

It pledged to protect those who rent privately who find themselves in financial trouble, even creating a council-run lettings agency.

It said: “We will protect anyone at risk of eviction because of arrears resulting from bedroom tax or Universal Credit shortfalls.

“We want to stop landlords refusing to let to people on benefits and will provide advice and support for private renters.”

Action on climate change will also be high on the list of priorities.

Having pledged to make Brighton and Hove carbon neutral in ten years, councillors will triple spending on solar panels for council homes.

It also promised to introduce a food waste collection and composting service and improve air quality through “clean, efficient buses”.

“We will install hundreds of on-street electric vehicle charging points and rapid-charging hubs for taxis,” the authority pledged.

“We will set up a climate assembly to develop a programme of action on the climate crisis.”

In terms of helping businesses, the council promised to protect the “uniqueness” of Brighton’s shops, cafes, and bars. But it did not specify how, other than promising to “consider” a voluntary tourist tax, a “coastal business improvement district” and a discount card for trust attractions, businesses and public transport.

When it comes to education, the council’s said its policies would help disadvantaged pupils achieve better results.

“We will introduce a workload agreement to give teachers and professionals more time to teach,” it said. “We will reintroduce a local authority supply teacher service to save schools money and ensure high quality teaching.”

It also pledged to open two centres for children with autism.

On crime, councillors promised to “tackle graffiti and tagging” as well as “enhance neighbourhood services and community policing” with more funds.

The authority also announced it would invest in support for victims of hate crime.

Cllr Platts said her administration would not be able to deliver these promises on its own.

She said: “This is an exciting time of change for us all. This plan will help you be part of it.”

Opposition leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said he was “pleased” to see Cllr Platts had adopted Green policies on the environment and housing.

But he pledged “to push the Labour council to go further”.

“Following the election, Greens pledged to work with all partners in the city to address the urgent issues of our housing and homelessness crisis, climate change and work on equalities and inclusion,” Cllr Mac Cafferty said.

“As the official opposition, we will continue to push the Labour council to go further and to scrutinise plans where they fall short of the high standards our city deserves. This includes in a few weeks’ time, when we will put forward our own amendments to the budget.”