A COMMUNITY group determined to tackle high rents has raised more than £300,000 to buy its first property for a student housing co-op.

More than 120 individuals, organisations and businesses have invested in a share offer through Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust to reach well over the trust’s target of £260,000.

It means the trust is now in a position to buy its first property, which it plans to lease to the South East Students Autonomously Living Together (Seasalt) student housing co-operative.

Seasalt was formed by students at the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton in 2018 with the aim of providing affordable student housing.

Helen Bartlett, investment co-ordinator at the trust, said: “We’re so excited to welcome over 120 new investors as members of Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust.

“It’s not been an easy year to launch a first share offer, with people understandably worried about the economy and their own finances.

“It’s testimony to the growing realisation the housing market is failing so many people in our city. This needs to change.

“We’re looking forward to buying our first property and to supporting the brilliant group of young people who make up Seasalt housing co-op.”

Helen said that although student housing is springing up all over the city, “much of it has been built without meaningful consultation and is only affordable to the richest of students”.

Earlier this year, private equity firm Blackstone bought the UK student accommodation firm iQ for £4.7 billion; the largest ever private property deal in the UK.

iQ has accommodation in 27 UK cities, including Brighton. A platinum studio in Abacus House in Baker Street, which offers a “luxurious student living experience” is priced at £333 per week.

Helen said the trust wants to go further in helping all residents across Brighton and Hove who struggle with housing.

She said: “We won’t stop here – our goal is to transform housing in the city, because that’s what desperately needs to happen.

“Our share offer is just one of a number of innovative ways we can push back against the housing crisis, alongside making local land available for community-led housing and ethical renting.”

The share offer has raised £303,000 so far and is open until the end of the year, up to a maximum of £385,000. Investment starts at £250 and will give an expected return of three per cent.

For more information, visit www.bhclt.org.uk.