The Brief


The New Homes for Neighbourhoods Programme has been established to build much needed new Council homes on Council land across the city. An analysis of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) land available for house building demonstrated that in order to meet the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) target of 500 homes on HRA land by 2030, smaller sites needed to be developed as well as the Council's larger sites and the regeneration of existing estates. The council's Small Site Strategy adopted by Housing Committee in March 2014, forms the context for the future delivery of these smaller sites. This Strategy emphasised that a different solution for the smaller sites is needed if the Council is to meet its housing targets and play its part in tackling the housing need. Soft market testing and informal discussions with smaller builders and architect practices in Spring 2013, revealed an interest amongst these companies in working with the Council to deliver housing on the smaller HRA sites.



The design competition is a pilot project, intended to generate design ideas for the delivery of social rented housing on the smaller Council owned sites within the Programme. The competition is seeking proposals for innovative housing solutions for the four competition sites.

  • The proposals should demonstrate sensitivity to context and local distinctiveness within their design responses. Whilst the proposals should be tailored to the constraints of the individual sites, the Council will be interested to see approaches and typologies that could potentially be applicable or adapted for use on other sites.

  • The proposals should seek to maximise the potential and opportunities of the respective sites, whilst being mindful of the constraints - particularly with respect to neighbouring properties and issues of over-looking etc.

  • The proposals should seek to embrace sustainable design principles, and be capable of future adaptation in response to changing demand and/or the needs of the tenants. The Council currently delivers its social rental housing to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. The proposals should demonstrate that affordable housing of high design quality can be achieved within the respective cost envelope for each site. The proposals will need to demonstrate value for money.

  • As a guide, the construction cost of each residential unit should be in the region of £150,000 or £1,700 per sq m.

  • The proposals should meet the minimum space standards outlined in the Council's Affordable Housing Brief.

  • The proposals should be practical, with an emphasis on manageable life-time costs and the performance/maintenance of all proposed materials and finishes within Brighton & Hove's seaside environment.

The Four Competition Sites

Map showing approximate location of the four competition sites in Brighton  

Hinton Close, Hollingdean

Approximate Postcode: BN1 7BS

  • Suburban location. The site, which is a cleared former garage site, lies to the south of Hinton Close and is accessed via a narrow drive running adjacent to 5 Hinton Close.

  • The site slopes steeply from the north down to the southern corner, with a change of level in excess of 1 storey.

  • There is an electricity substation to the eastern corner of the site adjacent to the boundary with 5 Hinton Close. This has an access wayleave of 12ft running along the northern boundary of the site.

  • The site is classified as greenfield and therefore the scheme will need to be sensitively designed with mitigation measures for loss of greenfield site built-in.

  • The site is suitable for family housing.

Location of Hinton Close site  

Natal Road, Brighton

Approximate Postcode: BN2 4BN

  • Small site situated a short distance away from the A270 Lewes Road.

  • Suburban location occupying the site of a former (now cleared) garage.

  • The two garages adjacent to the site are still standing but are not Council owned.

  • The fall of land from east to west results in the adjacent properties (The Highway) being approximately half a storey below the site and (Southall Gardens) being half a storey above the site.

  • The eastern boundary of the site, adjacent to 1 Southall Avenue, is a retaining wall and the garden and patio of 1 Southall Avenue are at a higher level than the former garage site. Consequently, there may be a risk of subsidence.

  • The fall of the site makes it possible that any proposed development could potentially be overbearing on the houses fronting The Highway.

Location of Natal Road site  

Rotherfield Crescent, Hollingbury

Approximate Postcode: BN1 8FF

  • Suburban location that currently accommodates 10 lock-up garages owned by the Council.

  • The site is an elevated and quite exposed position with long views over The Downs. It is a roughly rectangular parking court lying to the rear of semi-detached houses facing Keymer Road, Rotherfield Crescent, Buxsted Rise and Fernhurst Crescent.

  • There is a long, narrow single point of access to the site from Rotherfield Crescent between Nos. 59 and 61.

  • Many of the dwellings have built their own private garages and parking spaces at the rear of their plots, accessed via the open garage court area with established historic rights of access. These severely limit the developable area to the centre of the site and adjacent to the southern boundary.

  • The site steeply falls away to the north which means that properties on the northern and western boundary are significantly lower than the level of the parking court and could potentially be overlooked.

  • The environmental sensitivity rating is moderate to high as a result of the proximity to the Downland areas.

  • The site is suitable for family housing.

Location of Rotherfield Crescent site  

Frederick Street, North Laine Brighton

Approximate Postcode: BN1 4TA

  • City centre location in the North Laine area of central Brighton in close proximity to the railway station.

  • The site is currently managed as commercial car parking spaces on behalf of the Council. It is adjacent to terraced houses and an office block to the rear.

  • The site is located within the North Laine Conservation Area and therefore any proposed development will need to respect the historic setting and visual appearance of the Conservation Area.

  • New buildings should respect the building line of the dwellings to the south of the site and should be of a similar height.

  • The close proximity of offices and the side facing residential windows to the rear of the site may cause amenity issues (such as overlooking) for occupiers.

  • The site is suitable for a two storey development (possibly three storey, using roof space).

Location of Frederick Street site  

Competition Contact

The competition is being administered by RIBA Competitions, to whom any enquiries relating to the general conditions of this competition should be addressed.

    ++44 (0) 113 203 1490

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