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The Planning Forum, attended by members of the Regency Society and Hove Civic Society committees, meets monthly to discuss planning applications which the Forum considers significant. You can read more about the Planning Forum here.

Each society forms its own view on the applications and decides what action, if any, to take. 

In September 2017 we considered the following applications: 

2, The Conifers (Tongdean)

We considered a plan for demolition of a house in the Tongdean conservation area. The proposed replacement is very poorly designed so in this case we decided to object. You can read our objection here.

Royal Pavilion Ice Rink

There was quite a bit of discussion about the ice rink. There has been an ice rink in front of the Royal Pavilion for several years and this application was asking for permission to continue with it for the next six years.

The temporary structures required obscure an important view of our city’s most important listed building for almost one third of the year. On the other hand, the rink generates much needed cash for the maintenance of the Pavilion. So, there are good arguments for and against. After a useful discussion, we decided that proper maintenance of the building is essential so we will not object.

Plans for a large block of student housing in Lewes Road

The building is large but does step up from south, providing a number of different level roof spaces. This seems appropriate in the context of the larger scheme for the Preston Barracks site. We decided not to comment.

Other planning issues discussed at the Planning Forum

We also discusssed an outline application for housing on land of Overdown Rise, Mile Oak, The Jubilee Car Park at the University of Sussex and the replacement of windows at Hove Town Hall  but decided to make no comment.

If you are a member of the Regency Society and would like to comment on our positions on any issue we would be delighted to hear from you:  please contact us. Further details of all current planning applications are available on the Council’s website.

The Regency Society cares about our city. We want to preserve its wonderful heritage and encourage new, well designed buildings. This is why we keep a very close eye on planning applications in Brighton and Hove.

To do this we monitor proposed developments. We speak out about them when we think they are unacceptable as well as when we think they are good.

Until recently we did much of this through our membership of the Council’s Conservation Advisory Group (CAG). Recently we decided to withdraw from the group. You can read more about our reasons here. Hove Civic Society has also withdrawn, for similar reasons.

...continue reading "Our new approach to planning"

With regret, we have decided to cancel the discussion forum about the Waterfront Project planned for 18 October. We don't like cancelling events, especially at short notice, but in this case we feel we should.

The Waterfront Project, if it goes ahead, will be one of the most important developments in the city over the next few years. It will result in the construction of a 10,000-seat events venue at Black Rock and a major extension of the Churchill Square shopping centre.

So, if it is so important why did we cancel the discussion forum?

We have been monitoring the project for some time and have had useful discussions about it with representatives of both the Council and the owners of Churchill Square (Standard Life). We believed, based on what we were told and public statements by the Council, that by October the project would have moved forward and more detail would be known, and the parties would be willing to share their plans with us in greater detail.

In fact very little seems to have changed over the past few months and there is still very little detail available. As we have written before - this is frustrating as the people of Brighton and Hove need and deserve to know more. But a discussion at this stage, before a deal is agreed between the major players, could only have covered old ground.

The project is complex and controversial. Many people have questioned how it could work. We still believe that a public discussion will be needed.

We hope to resurrect the planned forum when more details are available and the major parties are available to explain their thinking. As soon as this seems to be the case we will be in touch.


Image shows Black Rock site


2017 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death. Members of her close family were landowners and her cousin used Humphry Repton to ‘improve’ his estate at Stoneleigh Abbey. Her novels chart the shift in landscape and garden aesthetics from the Picturesque sensibilities of the 1790s to the development of Ornamental Gardening with its winding shrubberies and exotic planting. ...continue reading "‘A prettyish kind of little wilderness’- Landscapes and gardens in the novels of Jane Austen. Lecture by Timothy Mowl"

Our protests, along with those of other groups, about the latest damage to Marlborough House, one of our most important heritage assets have been heard. The Council has decided to refuse the retrospective application for permission to paint the exterior of the building. We await developments with interest.

As members know, Marlborough House is the second most important building in Brighton and Hove. The current Pevsner guide calls it Brighton’s 'finest late C18 house'.  Its construction, formed from a previous red-bricked house owned Thomas Shergold,  in 1786 to a design by Robert Adam predates all of Brighton's Regency Squares, Crescents and Terraces. Adam intended the original to look as if it were faced with Portland Stone. This was to achieve a classical effect and is typical of Adam. Adam's style has had huge influence on building design throughout Europe and beyond ever since. It must have been a magnificent and striking sight at a time when central Brighton had few distinctive buildings. ...continue reading "Marlborough House – the Council refuses the restrospective planning application"

After much careful thought the trustees of the Regency Society have decided to withdraw the society from Brighton and Hove City Council Conservation Advisory Group (CAG).

This is not a decision which has been taken lightly or easily: we have been associated with CAG since it was established and several society trustees have chaired it at various times.

The move is prompted by a recent incident when CAG’s representative on the Planning Committee seriously misrepresented the CAG’s agreed views about a major development.

CAG has provided the society with an important channel through which to pursue its primary objective of protecting and improving our city’s built environment. We will of course continue to pursue this objective through other means. We'll be reporting on this in due course as new arrangements develop.

Read our full account here. If you would like to express a view on this or any other issue the committee would be very pleased to hear from you. Please use the 'contact us' box on this site or send an email to Roger Hinton.

The illustration above shows an artist's impression of the plan for the development at Ellen Street which was the subject of misrepresentation at the Planning Committee. You can read more about the Regency Society's original response to this scheme here.


The committee has been considering the Council's proposals to create a new conference and events centre at Black Rock for some time. The Council wants to fund the new centre with a deal involving Standard Life Investments (SLI). This is a complex and far reaching scheme which includes a much enlarged Churchill Square shopping centre. We're calling for much more consultation about it.

We need to know more

Despite its very significant scale, there is little information about this proposal.

...continue reading "Consultation on the Waterfront Project: we want to know more"

Delia Forester reflects on the highly successful 2017 study tour.

When embarking on a trip such as this it is probably best to understand that you must, for a while, abandon your destiny to a higher power. Forget lovely long lie-ins, leisurely breakfasts or lolling about on a lilo with a long gin and tonic. You won’t do much sitting in sunny squares sipping sangria or spritzer either.

...continue reading "The Great Northumbria Study Tour, June 2017"

Nicola Westbury is an architect and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings scholar who specialises in historic buildings conservation.

Gabriella Misuriello is the Churches Conservation Trust Project Manager for the South East. She is a building engineer specialising in heritage conservation.

They have been closely involved in the recent skilful repair of two ancient Sussex churches: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Warminghurst and St. Botolphs near Steyning. Nicola & Gabriella discussed the particular problems that such repair work involves and give us an insight in to caring for such fine buildings.' 

This event will be followed by a coach tour of Sussex churches on 28 April.

Image shows the interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Warminghurst


April 2017

The Regency Society has made the following comments on application BH2017/00492 submitted  by the University of Brighton in March 2017 for full planning permission for the redevelopment of Preston Barracks and Mithras House Car Park and outline planning permission for redevelopment of the Watts Building Car Park.

Although the proposals are disappointing in some respects, the Society is minded to support them for the following reasons:

  •  the site has been a derelict eyesore for far too long,
  • we welcome the consolidation and expansion  of the University of Brighton
  • new student housing is sorely needed and will take pressure off conventional housing in the area
  • we support the reinforcement of the academic corridor linking the Steine to Falmer
  • the development will contribute positively to the economy of the City.
  • we have no  objection on conservation grounds - the site does not fall within a conservation area and the proposals will not affect any of the City’s heritage assets. (We understand that the surviving Regency Period  barracks fall outside of the site boundaries and will remain the property of the M.o.D.)
  • Even as they stand the proposals will considerably improve what has become a depressing urban corridor.
  • We do not have a problem with the proposed heights of the buildings.  The site lies in the bottom of a valley and falls within an area that has been ear-marked for tall buildings (SPGBH15 of 2004). Inevitably the development will be visible from other parts of the City and from various points on the Downs, though we don’t consider that this will necessarily pose a problem. Indeed it could add a point of interest to the City’s profile and act as a marker for the ‘academic corridor’.

...continue reading "Preston Barracks site: our comments on the planning application"