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Kate Jordan argues that prize winning Hastings Pier is a tangible glimpse of an optimistic future where local communities and councils collaborate with the best designers to produce a new kind of heritage, relevant to our time. 

If the Stirling Prize is a barometer of prevailing winds in architecture then last year’s winner, Hastings Pier, suggests a sober outlook. This stark, timber structure, designed to replace the original Victorian pier, which was destroyed by fire in 2010, is far cry from the ‘starchitect’ designed winners of previous years. Indeed, it would be hard to find more contrasting buildings than Hastings Pier and Foster's ‘Gherkin’ which picked up the prize in 2004. If the high production values of early 2000’s prize-winners trumpeted economic confidence and rejoiced in cutting-edge technology, what does the decidedly low-tech, plain-speaking Hastings Pier tell us about the current climate? And what does it say about the changing role of the architect?

...continue reading "Hastings Pier: so much more than a disappointed bridge*"

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 December 2017 we considered the following issues: 

Brighton Square

Society members may remember our previous thoughts about plans for Brighton Square.

There is now a new proposal for this site – read our latest thoughts here.

Toad’s Hole Valley

Plans for Toads Hole Valley have developed with the arrival of the Congar, the company which has now developed a masterplan. Read or response to this here.

Windsor Street

Conservation areas play an important role in protecting our city’s heritage. Windsor Street is in the North Laine conservation area which is characterised by small buildings, mostly of traditional design. A new application seeks to demolish two such traditional style houses with brickwork in subdued colours and replace them with a much taller, bright red brick building in a 20th century style. The existing buildings are themselves fairly recent, but they are somewhat traditional in design, with just three storeys and wooden sash windows. The replacement is an interesting design in itself but is quite out of keeping with its neighbours to the south. With its five storeys, it will overpower them. For these reasons we are asking the planners to refuse the application on the grounds that it will damage the character of the conservation area.

Surrenden Road

Varndean College are hoping to generate funds by selling off a rough plot of land at the edge of their playing fields. The plan is for ten new houses, designed in a way to avoid offending the neighbours on the other side of the road. The proposed buildings are small and low, thus allowing the neighbours to retain their southerly views across the playing fields. We are opposing this scheme as a missed opportunity. The site is large enough to provide significantly more than just ten new homes. We believe that the new buildings should match those opposite in massing and design ambition, rather than hunkering down in the hope that no one will notice they are there. This could be achieved while still retaining some of the neighbours’ southerly views.

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.

Toads Hole Valley is by far the largest urban fringe site identified for development in the City Plan. The Council has recently published a “Supplementary Planning Document” for the site. This sets out in more detail how they see its development.

The arrival of St Congar's masterplan

One of the challenges of a site as large as Toads Hole Valley is ensuring development is coherent rather than piecemeal. This now looks more likely with the recent arrival on the scene of development company St Congar. They intend to work in conjunction with the landowners on a masterplan. They will not undertake  development themselves but instead split the site into parcels of land for development by different investors.

...continue reading "Toads Hole Valley: recent consultation"

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.

...continue reading "Victorian Chroniclers of Brighton: a new Regency Society publication"

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"

The Pavilion Tea House in Hove Park is much loved by locals, particularly when the sun is shining, and you can sit outside. However, this pleasant building is no longer large enough to cope with the all-year-round business it now attracts. The kitchen is cramped, there are no toilets or disabled facilities and the inside seating is limited.

...continue reading "A new tea house for Hove Park?"