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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.

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

In November 2017 we considered the following issues: 

Valley Gardens

Society members may remember that we opposed this scheme because it is unimaginative. It was approved by the Council’s Planning Committee in November. The Planning Forum noted that a late addition to the documents shows the related traffic scheme and suggests that southbound traffic travelling down the east side of the gardens will be forced from two to one lane in each direction for a section in Grand Parade. Although this is not a planning matter, it was agreed that the society should write to Gill Mitchell (lead councillor of transport) to ask what traffic modelling had been done to assess how this would affect traffic flows.

29 – 31 New Church Road

We are concerned the proposal for 63 flats plus a synagogue and community buildings on this one acre site could represent over-development. It will be necessary to see more detailed drawings before adopting a firm view.

It was agreed to write to Morgan Carn supporting the spirit of the scheme while expressing possible concern over the high density. We will ask for an opportunity to see the existing drawings again.

Significant proposals

We discussed two significant schemes currently under consideration for the Amex House site and a new tea house for Hove Park. Click on the images below to read more.

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.

Sadly, Amex House in Edward Street, Brighton is no more. Demolition is now  complete and the site is surrounded with hoardings.

The Regency Society campaigned for Amex House to survive as one of the best post-war 20th centre buildings in the city without success. We liked the look of the building and the way it was set back from the road, creating a pleasant open space in what is otherwise a lacklustre streetscape.

The new American Express building, which had been hiding modestly behind the old one, is now partly visible above the hoardings. But it won’t be for long if the planners and developers get their way.

...continue reading "New plans for Edward Street"

We need your help with our next project!

The James Gray Collection contains over 7,000 historic photographs. It is the most heavily used service the Regency Society provides. The JGC is a unique resource of historic pictures of the whole of Brighton and Hove. We are fortunate to have it.

However, The James Gray Collection website is now very out of date. It is hard to understand and browse. Many captions are now dated. It is also not suitable for use on modern tablets and phones.

How you can help

We want to give it a new lease of life with a new site. To do this, we need help from a lot of people who know and care about Brighton and Hove and are willing to help update the information about the images. We need help finding all the places in the photographs and recording what is there now. We also need help with other tasks. If you are interested in the project but not sure if working on updating the information is for you - don't be put off!

...continue reading "A new site for the James Gray Collection"

The Regency Society is delighted to be publishing Chroniclers of Brighton by Andy Grant and Steve Myall to coincide with the launch of our website of historic prints of Brighton and Hove. The new site is based on the private collections of members of the Society of Brighton Print Collectors. Read more about the new website here. 

All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Regency Society, enabling us to fund more projects directly related to the heritage of Brighton and Hove.

The price of this hardback book, edited by RS trustee David Fisher, is £20 (plus postage and packing). You can order a copy at the bottom of this page.

About Victorian Chroniclers of Brighton

The history and daily occurrences of Brighton began to be documented as soon as the town became fashionable. John Ackerson Erredge’s The History of Brighthelmston, or Brighton as I View It and Others Knew It, published in 1862, is perhaps the most often referenced source. John George Bishop, who joined the staff of the Brighton Herald in 1839 at the start of a 62-year career at the newspaper, was the most celebrated Brighton historian in his own lifetime. Their contributions to the literature about the town and their own places in its history are described in this book. The authors of the earliest histories of Brighton have been included as a prelude to introducing the major players.

Before photography, sights and scenes were recorded in prints. Brighton was fortunate in being a place that attracted artists as well as tourists. Their work, presented as engravings, aquatints and lithographs, resulted in prints for residents to hang on their walls and visitors to take away as souvenirs. The other two key chroniclers of Brighton commemorated in this book are the town’s leading print publishers: William Grant and W H Mason.

Andy Grant and Steve Myall tell the story of the triumphs and tribulations of Erredge, Bishop, Grant and Mason with illustrations of the publications and prints from their own collections.

Between them these four epitomise the Victorian Chroniclers of Brighton.

About the authors

Andy Grant has been a lifelong collector of antiquarian books and ephemera centred upon Brighton, with one of the most comprehensive private collections of local directories spanning two centuries. He started his working life as an architectural illustrator for the Department of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, but after six years changed careers to become a railway signal engineer. He has been a volunteer researcher for the My Brighton and Hove website for many years, writing occasional articles and assisting others with their queries on Brighton local history, including contributions to radio and TV programmes and the works of other authors. He is the great-great-grandson of the Brighton print publisher William Grant and has a modest collection of his topographical prints.

Steve Myall is a member of the Regency Society and has been a collector of 18th and 19th century engravings of Brighton and Hove for over 40 years. He is is the author of The Victorian Development of the Clifton, Montpelier & Powis Estates of Brighton. He spent the first 26 years of his working life with the Mayfair art gallery Arthur Ackermann & Son—the same business where, under its founder Rudolph Ackermann, W H Mason worked as a young apprentice before opening his own gallery in Brighton early in 1832.

Steve has been centrally involved in work on the new website including sourcing the images and writing the very many invaluable annotations.

To order the book (£20 per copy plus £2.80 p & p) please choose the number of copies you would like to order and click the 'buy now' button.


No of copies


Our new website of Georgian and Victorian prints of Brighton is now live. It was launched at a very successful event at The Keep on 22 November 2017. This is a product of collaboration between the Regency Society and the Society of Brighton Print Collectors over the past year or so.

Our latest publication, Chroniclers of Brighton by Andy Grant and Steve Myall, was launched at the same time, with over 70 copies sold. If you would like to purchase a copy of this fascinating book, you can do so here.

...continue reading "Website of Georgian and Victorian prints launched"

Capability Brown is often hailed as the great master of 18th C. English landscaping. And yet there are some who regard his work as formulaic and others who consider him to have been a vandal. John Phibbs discussed this dichotomy. ...continue reading "Capability Brown: Vandal or Genius? Lecture by John Phibbs"

The Society keeps a special reserve for occasions when an exceptionally important conservation project comes along. We look after it carefully and do not dip into it often. After careful consideration, the committee has decided that Madeira Arches is an especially deserving and urgent cause. So this is the right moment to put our conservation project reserve to good use.

We've decided that we will contribute as generously as we can afford to the restoration of the Madeira Arches. The Society is pledging £10,000.

By setting an example we hope to encourage others, so we will be seeking as much  publicity as possible for our donation. The Regency Society should be taking a lead on causes like this in the hope that others will follow. If our members, the general public and the conservation community locally and nationally join us in contributing we may be able to prevent disaster.  You can help too: please click here to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign.
...continue reading "We pledge £10,000 to help restore the Madeira Arches"

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.

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

In October 2017 we considered the following applications: 

St Aubyns School, High Street. Rottingdean

Yet another attempt is being made to get permission for housing on the former playing field behind the school buildings. As with the previous plan, this one involves retaining part of the field as open space. The rest will be developed as housing.

There is a lot of opposition to this in Rottingdean because of its potential impact on traffic and local amenities. The society believes that the site should be used to contribute towards the city’s housing need. The housing proposed is thoughtfully designed to blend well with its older neighbours.

We have therefore supported the scheme. You can read the original application here  and our comments here.

Valley Gardens/St Peter’s Church

The Council is resurrecting plans to reconfigure traffic flows from St Peter’s through Valley Gardens to the seafront. The east side will be a two-way route for traffic coming into and leaving the city centre. The west side will be for buses and taxis.

These traffic changes do not require planning permission. This application is for proposed changes to the central area. The hope is that the revised traffic scheme will make the gardens more accessible and hence better used.

The Regency Society has its doubts about the viability of the new traffic scheme. However, if it does go ahead we support the idea of attracting more people to enjoy what is the most significant green open space in central Brighton.

Sadly we cannot support this particular set of plans. They involve a bleak hard gravel square to the south of the church. The gardens themselves will undergo various changes but little detail is given in the application. What detail there is suggests a scheme which is unimaginative and unlikely to be well maintained.

David Robson writes with detailed thoughts about this scheme here. You can read the application here and our formal comments here.

Richardson’s Yard, New England Road

Brighton Housing Trust has made good use of this former industrial site, using former shipping containers to provide homes for those in real need, for example rough sleepers. This application is to continue the permission for a further five years. The Regency Society supports it.

We also support the similar application for the neighbouring site where containers are being used as workspaces. Read the application here.

Cottages in Station Approach, Falmer

If you pass through Falmer station regularly you will probably know the two boarded-up cottages which back onto the train line just on the Lewes side of the station. This application seeks to demolish them and build a residence for 90 students.

 

The cottages were probably attractive in their day but they are now looking very sad. The society does not oppose their demolition: they are not listed nor are they in a conservation area. Meanwhile the city needs more purpose-built student housing.

Even so, we are objecting to this scheme because of the poor design of the proposed new building. It uses white render and wood cladding, both materials which do not fare well in the local climate. Other buildings nearby are in brick, which would be much more appropriate. Read the application here and our formal comments here.

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.

David Robson considers the current plans to remodel Valley Gardens and is disappointed.

Valley Gardens is a precious green lung that barely survives between two arteries of thundering traffic at the heart of our City. Framed by a theatrical backdrop of buildings of different styles and periods, it has the potential to act as an exciting urban promenade, as an event space, as a place of repose. However, plans currently being advanced by the Council fail to exploit this potential and promise little more than clipped grass, trampled flowerbeds and bonded gravel.

...continue reading "How grey is our valley – we object to proposals for Valley Gardens"

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.

The story today

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.