On August 14, Friday, members of ACORN, the housing rights group in the UK, and residents of East Brighton protested at the Brighton Gasworks site demanding that affordable housing be built instead of expensive luxury flats. At the Brighton Gasworks site, massive construction is underway by the development company St William Homes, which plans to build 700 homes. The protesters have demanded that the authorities and the construction company should ensure affordable housing spaces in the new building instead of luxury apartments for multi-millionaires. The protesters have also called on Allison Dowsett, managing director of St William Homes, to come to a public meeting to listen to the demands of local residents. ACORN has also initiated a community survey demanding affordable housing for East Brighton.
In its statement, ACORN provided the context for the development. “The property development company St William Homes is planning to submit a planning application to Brighton and Hove City Council to develop the Gasworks site on Boundary Road in East Brighton. The proposed plans show they plan to build up to 700 homes but there are no clear commitments to how many of those will be affordable. St Williams Homes has a track record of charging high prices for their homes, including a recent development near Battersea Park Power Station in London where 1 bedroom flats are currently advertised for up to £894,000. Brighton has enough luxury flats. What we need are affordable homes for local people!”
The Brighton committee of ACORN said, “We heard testimonies from our local members about how the housing crisis affects our communities, and have over 40 members and local residents there in support. We are demanding that: (1) the development project includes at least 40% affordable housing at rates genuinely affordable for local people (2) local people are properly consulted before any decisions are made.”
ACORN has also given a call for a community meeting on September 11, at East Brighton Park. Earlier in May, this year, ACORN has organised mobilizations across the UK demanding the government to immediately resolve homelessness and other grievances including rent debts during the COVID-19 crisis.