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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 our latest meeting we considered the following issue:

Tangle of buildings streamlined

The Regency Society welcomed this refurbishment and extension of 126-127 St James’s Street to provide four residential dwellings. Although access to the site is presently from St James’s Street the application site is to the rear of the Flemish Renaissance-style façade abutting the rear of Steyne Mansions on Stein Street.

The site covers a row of linked buildings on the north east side of Steine Street, which runs east from Old Steine to the corner (where the site is), then south towards the sea front.

Although the property is not of architectural significance, the area around it is. In the East Cliffe Conservation area it is surrounded by listed buildings at 1-4, 124 and 130 St James’s Street and the Star Inn at 7-9 Manchester Street.

The ground floor of the buildings are presently occupied by an amusement arcade and tanning parlour; the first floor is unoccupied and in decay. The proposal is to rebuild the upper floor and add a second floor to create four duplex residential units with access to the apartments via a new entrance and staircase located on Steine Street.

The application provides a sound heritage statement and is thus designed with sensitivity to the area, particularly in terms of its mass and materials. The design solution will significantly lift a somewhat neglected back street, once mews for the buildings on Old Steine, and enhance rather than compete with its heritage surrounds.

See application here

Would you like to comment on this article? The committee, RS members and other site users would be interested to hear your views so we are inviting you to share your thoughts online. If you would like to do so you will need to register first – it only takes a moment and once registered you can log in and comment on other articles on this site in the future. Click here to register. If you have already registered, simply click on ‘you must be logged in’ at the bottom of the page.

Lyn Turpin reflects on a lovely afternoon in the Secret Garden at the Regency Society annual Garden Party

Despite concern that ticket sales were down and that maybe the garden party has had its day as a summer event, the annual Regency Society garden party on 23 June was once again a great success. It was helped, no doubt, by the sunshine, the wine and the delicious canapés. And, of course, the delightful setting of Kemptown’s Secret Garden, now owned and maintained by the Antony Dale Trust.

Worries about ticket sales were unfounded as numbers were virtually the same as last year, with almost a third paying at the door, maybe encouraged by the good weather.

Music played in the background as people nibbled, drank and chatted with old friends and new faces. Had I known I was going to be writing this, I might have listened more carefully to the music playing but possibly there was some Glenn Miller and definitely a little Ink Spots! So nothing too loud or aggressive or likely to upset the neighbours.

We were joined by some special visitors, including Councillor Dee Simson, Brighton & Hove’s new mayor; Sir Simon Jenkins, President of the Regency Society, and Professor Gavin Henderson CBE, Vice President of the Society and Chair of the Antony Dale Trust. The mayor said a few words, congratulating the Society on its work encouraging concern for our city’s built environment, and drew the first ticket (and several more) of the afternoon’s raffle (prizes predominantly books and booze). Gavin Henderson also spoke, giving us a potted history of the Secret Garden and the Antony Dale Trust’s plans for future development and uses of the garden. These include an exhibition in next year’s Brighton Festival of the work of sculptor, William Pye, probably best known in the south-east for his water sculpture at Gatwick Airport.

Click on an image to enlarge

Special thanks must go to Martin Auton-Lloyd for the catering; Delia Forester, Helen Walker, Rupert Radcliffe-Genge and Richard Robinson for their sterling work on the bar and raffle; Suzanne Hinton and Kate Ormond at the door; David Robson for photography and ferrying tables back and forth, and Roger Hinton, Chair of the Society and provider of the music from his extensive collection of 78s. And to all the people who attended – perhaps the garden party hasn’t had its day after all!

Images of the party by David Robson

Images of the garden by Nick Dwyer

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 our latest meeting we considered the following issue:

Building new council homes should be good news

If one follows the views of the Regency Society on planning applications for housing it is noticeable our objections commonly relate to the need for greater density and affordability, particularly in large sites in response to demand. By contrast, on occasion objections may relate to over-development.

However, the recent application for a block of 30 flats on council land on Lewes Road attracts a different sort of objection.

Trustee Kate Jordan sets out the reasons for our objection.

“The Regency Society opposes plans for a 7 storey residential block in Selsfield Drive. Though the scheme will provide much needed social housing, the current design is out of scale with the surrounding buildings and fails to respect the 'garden suburb' grain of the area. Moulescoomb is an important early cottage-style council estate, laid out to the design principles of Ebenezer Howard by the renowned planners Adshead and Ramsey (also responsible for the Duchy of Cornwall Estate in Kennington) with the intention of providing 'homes fit for heroes'.The carefully-considered street plan follows the topography of the Downs and comprises generous front and rear gardens and expansive grass verges. While the development under construction on the nearby Preston Barracks site sets a precedent for tall buildings along the Lewes road, these form a cluster, whereas the proposed building on Selsfield Drive sits awkwardly with the surrounding low rise blocks, dominates a key piece of the original landscaping and is insensitive to the general character of the area.”

See application here

Would you like to comment on this article? The committee, RS members and other site users would be interested to hear your views so we are inviting you to share your thoughts online. If you would like to do so you will need to register first – it only takes a moment and once registered you can log in and comment on other articles on this site in the future. Click here to register. If you have already registered, simply click on ‘you must be logged in’ at the bottom of the page.

Many members will have noticed the Astoria Cinema building in Gloucester Place in the course of its demolition. Our June 2018 update included a photo taken of glimpses of the interior. Other pictures of this disappearing Brighton icon, soon to be replaced by a block of flats, have featured in the press and social media in May and June 2018.

James Gray obtained images of the building going up in 1932 (vol 30 nos 85- 89):

 

 

 

The Regency Society has pledged £7k to the Saltdean Lido crowd-funding appeal to help the Community Interest Company (CIC) achieve its goal of £101.997. This will help unlock an additional grant of £4.19m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for preserving the rest of the building. The Society agreed to make a pledge, acknowledging the significance of the Lido as one of the finest remaining examples of modernist lidos in the UK. The appeal closes on 16 June. Prior to the RS pledge,  over 90% of the total had been donated. Regency Society Chair Roger Hinton comments:

"Restoration of the Saltdean Lido site is one of Brighton and Hove's most important heritage projects. The Saltdean Lido Trust has already brought the pool back into use and is now turning its attention to the main building which is in urgent need of restoration. The Regency Society is pleased to be able to support the project. We believe that it will not only save a fine building but also create an important
asset for the local community." ...continue reading "Regency Society supports Saltdean Lido"

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 our latest meeting we considered the following issues: 

Will single dwellings on the seafront continue to disappear?

A new application seeks to redevelop, for housing, the east end of one of the few remaining seafront blocks still at the scale of domestic houses. Three of six large family houses at 239 - 243 Kingsway are proposed for demolition to make way for a single block of 37 apartments, ranging from five to eight storeys, with associated car parking.

According to the design statement a key feature is a ribbon at each floor that wraps round the building and is intended to create a unified and unifying form.  The dominant elevation is Hove Lawns and the seafront. A secondary public façade, facing onto Braemore Road, adopts a similar motif.

The Regency Society has no objection to a tall block on the site and applauds the responsive consultation process that resulted in changes based on comments received.  The committee will not be commenting finding the application neither particularly outstanding nor objectionable.

When is additional housing objectionable?

Given the dire need for housing, are some applications just not acceptable?  We think so. In the following two cases we have raised objections because we think the proposals offer minimal accommodation but considerable blight to their surrounds.

The first application is land to the rear of 62-64 Preston Road, presently largely disused workshop space related to Cannadines.  The site is a tight triangular and largely residual area. Two previous applications have been refused resulting in a three rather than four storey addition and two rather than three flats.

While we agree that the existing elevation fronting Ditchling Rise is rough and unattractive, we have objected to the present proposal as it is too large, leaves little outside space on the site and will over-shadow the flats to the north and potentially overlook those to the south.    See planning application here

The second is 84 Tongdean Lane where there is an existing house set well back on a long narrow site with a garage fronting onto the road. The proposal is to demolish the garage and infill with a house to fit the narrow site with parking for four cars (to serve two households) at the very front of the site directly onto the road.

We have objected to the scheme not only because the proposed parking is at a road junction and potentially dangerous but also the usually landscaped buffer common to all the houses on the lane, will be lost to the sight of four cars.   See planning application here

 

Would you like to comment on this article? The committee, RS members and other site users would be interested to hear your views so we are inviting you to share your thoughts online. If you would like to do so you will need to register first – it only takes a moment and once registered you can log in and comment on other articles on this site in the future. Click here to register. If you have already registered, simply click on ‘you must be logged in’ at the bottom of the page.

Kate Ormond reflects on an interesting day out led by David Robson with occasional delights 'off-piste'. 

You may have heard Nicola Westbury’s interesting lecture about her conservation work as architect to the Churches Conservation Trust on St Botolph’s in Steyning and Holy Sepulchre in Warminghurst. To accompany the lecture RS members and friends joined a study day to visit these and other ancient West Sussex churches, many created for communities dependent on the navigability of the River Adur. As the river silted up and livelihoods were lost, people moved on, congregations dwindled, and Downland churches fell into disrepair.

While not quite Downland, we began at St Mary de Haura in Shoreham, a Grade 1 listed building of 11th century Norman origin built for a once thriving city whose history has been determined by river and sea. It is unusual among English parish churches in having a stone vault soaring above the three tiers of arcade that transition from Norman to Gothic and supported by flying buttresses. Perhaps more unusual are the columns of the arcade that are different on each side – those to the north alternately round and octagonal, to the south more complex and uniform.

As the day was led by David Robson it was not surprising to find ourselves off-piste for a few extra delights. The first was to view the grave of Amon Henry Wilds in the cemetery of St Nicholas’s church in Shoreham. Iron railings surround the tombstone now nestled beneath a spreading laurel tree and looking comfortably shabby chic.

The four Downland churches we visited had in common their Saxon or Norman origins, picturesque settings (often just a chancel and nave with limited changes dependent on population variation) and varying degrees of restored wall paintings. Yet each has its own character, best experienced by being there to sense the calm rural simplicity which evokes a sense of early Christianity.

Coombes Church, named for its siting as its dedication is unknown, contains wall paintings re-discovered in 1949 depicting the gospel through pictures for those who couldn’t read. Having served its community for a thousand years it continues to be used and maintained by a small hard-working congregation.

St Botolph’s in Steyning is a Saxon church recently restored by the CCT. The Adur runs along the east of the site. Its silting up in the 14th century brought down the only bridge across the river that had been used for what is thought to be a thousand years, leading to the demise of the village.

We were treated to a personal tour by Nicola of the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Warminghurst. It was thrilling to hear and see for ourselves the nature and extent of the work undertaken: timber repairs to the rafters and braces of the vaulted ceiling, sourcing Horsham stone for re-roofing, even policy clashes in restoration work generally - all managed with expertise and dedication to its Grade 1 listing.

Image by Sue Wagstaff

St Botolph’s, Hardham has an extensive set of frescoes that, unusually, cover the whole church interior. Monks from St Pancras’ Priory in Lewes are said to have supervised the decoration of the church interior as well as those of Coombes Church.

Our final church was St Nicholas in Arundel but not before another off-piste view of the adjacent Arundel Cathedral, built to elaborate Gothic heights and thrill in the 19th century, confirming the continuing passion and dedication of the Roman Catholic Church.

We had a guided tour of about half of what had been a homogenous 14th century building now bizarrely divided with the chancel (Fitzalan Chapel) Roman Catholic and the nave and transepts Church of England. Grade1 listed, this may be the only surviving example of the mediaeval practice of two ecclesiastical foundations under one roof. In 1879 the then vicar, unhappy at what he saw as Roman Catholic triumphalism, fought a lawsuit, claiming the chapel for the parish church, but lost. As a consequence, a crude brick wall separated the two for 90 years until replaced by the present glazed partition. However it is not so sweet a compromise as a tall iron gate full of highly gouging spikes also guards the divide, leaving a clear message.

Thank you for contributing. Thank you for coming along.

Images, unless indicated otherwise, are by David Sears, including the gallery below of memorable sights

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 our latest meeting we considered the following issues: 

Monsieur Poirot would not approve

Number 4 Grand Avenue is one of Hove’s finest 20th century buildings. It is also one of the best preserved.

It was built in 1939 to a design by Murrell and Pigott. It’s 1930s look is striking and, in the words of Regency Society member Robert Nemeth, “it would make an ideal home for a certain Monsieur Poirot”.

It is important that its distinctive appearance should be preserved. That is why the Regency Society has objected to a planning application to install a glass balustrade behind the balcony railing on the eighth floor.

The reason for the plan is perfectly understandable, to reduce the risk children falling through the existing railings. So why are we objecting?

The balcony is on the top floor and is clearly visible against the sky. Glass is a far from an invisible material and, in this position, it will act as a reflector. We are also worried that the proposed fixing into the stone parapet will not be strong enough to resist high winds.

We believe that there are alternative solutions. For example, an additional metal railing composed of fine horizontal bars set back behind the existing railing would be almost invisible. See the planning application here

The society has welcomed a plan to install a new sign near the landward end of the pier. The sign will read “Brighton Palace Pier” thus restoring its previous, but not quite its original name. Back in 1899 when the pier was opened, it was named the ”Brighton Marine Palace and Pier” and the initial BMPP can still be seen in places as you stroll along it.

However, we are less impressed by a new structure which has appeared directly outside the pier entrance. It is a large, windowless, wooden shed housing a gift shop and it looks quite out of place. No planning application has been made as far as we know. We have asked the Council to take enforcement action.

See the planning application here

Proposal for King’s House in Hove

We’re not at all happy with the proposal for the King’s House on Grand Avenue – read about our concerns here.

Would you like to comment on this article? The committee, RS members and other site users would be interested to hear your views so we are inviting you to share your thoughts online. If you would like to do so you will need to register first – it only takes a moment and once registered you can log in and comment on other articles on this site in the future. Click here to register. If you have already registered, simply click on ‘you must be logged in’ at the bottom of the page.

We're very disappointed with plans for the King's House building (formerly council offices) on the corner of Grand Avenue and Kingsway.

Our concern covers more or less every aspect of the proposal currently under consideration.

It's too massive

The new structure will not only replace the building which faces Grand Avenue. It will also include a new block where the car park is now. These three structures, including the original Grade II building which faces Kingsway, will have very little space between them.

It would be an oppressive place to live

Almost half the apartments will face into sunless internal spaces and have no views. The new block which will face onto Grand Avenue includes single-aspect flats with  dining areas 7 metres from any window. The inhabitants will need the light on all day.

You will be no better off if you opt for a flat in the North facing blocks of the main building. These flats will have no sunlight all day either.  Its structure consists of  'outriggers' (blocks which jut out from the main building). These are only 8 metres apart so will get very little, if any, direct light and very poor privacy. The Western aspect faces a blank wall. And this is one of the most desirable sea-side spots on Brighton and Hove!

There is very little open space - all of the available land has been crammed with buildings. This is a worrying trend (see our comments last month on proposals for the Amex site).

It will look a mess

We don't like the design, which feels to us as if it is an attempt to make the ungainly whole look smaller than it actually is. So it won't even be a pleasure to walk past, if you are lucky enough to live in the much superior 1930s 4 Grand Avenue, just up the road.

What about affordable housing?

This proposal is coy about affordable housing. We don't know how much is proposed nor where it would be but we fear that this is the intention for the worst of the depressing, dark apartments.

Future generations deserve better

We find this proposal unacceptable in every way. It is very sad that a prime spot on our sea front attracts so little ambition for the future of our city. It condemns future generations to a substandard home if you live there, and a depressing view if you merely have to look at it. Alas this sort of development seems to be a growing trend.  We call on the council to raise everybody's aspirations by declaring this sort of proposal unacceptable.

Read our objections

See the full planning application