This is the text of a letter that has been sent today to neighbours of the site where BHT and our partners, QED Capital Assets Ltd, propose to provide temporary accommodation in converted shipping containers:
Development: Land adjoining 10 New England Road and rear of 53 New England Street
We are writing to let you know that together, local property developer QED and housing charity Brighton Housing Trust (BHT), are submitting a planning application for 36 self contained studio flats on land behind the Cobbler’s Thumb pub on New England Hill. You may have heard about our plans in the media because we are making the innovative proposal to use converted shipping containers for this temporary housing. Here is some more information:
What is the time frame for development and what exactly are we proposing in terms of using shipping containers?
We are working towards submitting a planning application early in the New Year. The units are converted specifically for housing and are in use in the Netherlands as social and student housing as well as hotels. If we get planning permission, we hope to have the homes ready for our first residents in the late spring of 2013.
Some people have expressed surprise at the use of converted shipping containers. The containers have been converted to very high standards, and will provide self-contained studio flats for 36 men and women. You can learn more about the use of converted containers on the website of TempoHousing who have pioneered their use in the Netherlands.
What else will be on site?
The development will contain all the usual things you’d expect to see, cycle stores, appropriate waste facilities, and so on. It will also include compost facilities, an area for growing food, trees, planting areas on the roof and rainwater harvesting.
Who will be living in these units?
BHT will carefully select the residents for this accommodation. They will be men and women who may have been homeless in the past but are now ready for independent living. BHT operates a number of rehabilitation programmes that ensure that residents will be responsible tenants. BHT cannot afford the reputational and financial consequences of housing people who will not make good tenants.
Why is this being proposed?
There is acute need for housing in the city. This temporary housing solution provides much needed relief for those seeking permanent housing. It also brings into use a city centre site that would otherwise sit as storage space until a wider proposal for re-development of the area emerges.
How will the homes be managed?
The homes will be managed by BHT through specialist housing management staff it employs. If some residents have any on-going support needs (around budgeting, re-emerging mental health problems, etc., BHT employs support staff who can assist on either a temporary or a longer-term basis.
Will my views be listened to?
We want to make this initiative a success. Therefore, we are very interested to hear about any concerns, questions or ideas you may have. Our approach is that feedback from the local community can help us make our proposal even better because you may think of things, or have ideas, that we have not yet considered.
As a local resident you will be invited to a meeting in the New Year to discuss the proposals.
In the meantime you are welcome to contact either of us, Ross with regard to the design and technical matters, Andy with regard to the management of the housing.
Ross Gilbert, QED Capital Assets Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Winter, Brighton Housing Trust, email@example.com