The Brighton Unitarian Church in New Road is a striking building. It stands on what was originally part of the Royal Pavilion gardens. The Prince Regent sold it to the Unitarian congregation in 1819 for £650, allegedly to help stave off bankruptcy.
Just over a year later the church was finished. The architect, Amon Henry Wilds drew inspiration from the temple of Theseus in Athens, giving the building an immense pediment and columns which still dominate the east end of new Road.
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Sadly, these features of the building are now decaying. As a result, it has been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register. Attempts are being made to obtain a restoration grant.
Read more about the Portico Repair Project here.
Meanwhile the church’s activities continue, including an impressive series of weekly lunchtime concerts. The November programme starts on Friday 3rd (12:30 – 1:15 pm; coffee from 12 noon). Pianist An-Ting Chan will play music inspired by animals. See the full programme here.
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"
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"
(The image above, prepared by David Fisher, shows the 1973 OS map (black) overlaid on an 1877 map (sepia).This shows the earlier square on the site, and access from twittens to North-West, South and South-East which still exist.)
The Regency Society is critical of current proposals to alter Brighton Square as outlined in planning applications BH2017/00762, 00768 & 00797, namely to reclad the facades of the existing shops and associated housing, to amalgamate nos 12-16 Brighton Square to form a single restaurant space, to install an enclosed dining area in the square under a canopy and to raise and thus obscure the existing fountain sculpture.
...continue reading "Brighton Square"
Nick Tyson explains why we should all be worried at the scandalous state of this unique heritage asset, and why the Council and Historic England must intervene
Marlborough House in the Old Steine in Brighton is often referred to as the second most important historic property in the city, after the Royal Pavilion. Built in the 1760s for Sam Shergold, the keeper of the local 'Castle Inn', the House was purchased in the 1780s by William Gerard Hamilton MP and shortly after this became the subject of architectural improvements by the renowned Scottish architect, Robert Adam.
...continue reading "More damage to Marlborough House"
We’ve written before about the Council’s plan to create a new conference and events centre at Black Rock. They intend it to replace the Brighton Centre. We are aware that this has the potential to make major changes in our city and we are keen to know how this is progressing.
...continue reading "The latest (or lack of it) on the Waterfront Project"
The Regency Society was broadly supportive of the first iteration of the Draft City Plan (City Plan Part 1). In particular the Society has supported the proposal, as set out in Section DA7 of the City Plan, to designate the area of land known as Toad’s Hole Valley for mixed use with a predominance of housing. Toad’s Hole Valley, it should be noted, is a triangular area of scrub-land with a gross area of 47 hectares that is bounded by the A27 by-pass and King George VI Avenue. ...continue reading "Toad’s Hole Valley Supplementary Planning Document"
reflections on a 70 year relationship between the Royal Pavilion and the Regency Society
Brighton and Hove City Council has decided to set up a new Cultural Trust to run the Brighton Pavilion and Museums. The Council will continue to own the Pavilion and Museums but is setting up the Trust to manage it.
The main reason is to create new funding avenues: a trust will be able to raise money in ways the Council cannot. Work on setting up the Trust is starting now with the appointment of a temporary board which will include councillors. A transition year to the permanent new Trust will begin in April next year. In April 2019 the transition will be complete and a new board will take over. All existing staff will be transferred in on their current terms and conditions. ...continue reading "A new future for the Royal Pavilion"
Brighton and Hove City Council has approved an application for a development on the site of Court Farm, which lies to the North East of Toads Hole Valley, where a larger development is planned. Court Farm lies close to the roundabout at the top of George VI Avenue. ...continue reading "Court Farm"
December 2016 update
We've written before about the Hyde Housing Association and its proposals for the site of the former Sackville Hotel. We've objected to a previous proposal for a 17 storey tower on this site.
Hyde Housing is now preparing to submit a new planning application for the site and they presented their revised proposals at a public exhibition at the end of November. They have appointed a new team of architects – HGP Architects from Fareham – and have conducted a number of consultative workshops with local residents. ...continue reading "Hyde Housing and the Sackville Hotel site"