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. . .  there is a masterplan for the western end of the Marina and the Black Rock site.

Already the Marina is a hodgepodge of buildings whose layout and design relate  to nothing of local meaning. Furthermore, pedestrians seem to have been largely left unconsidered, e.g. plenty of obvious places for cars but little to help someone on foot negotiate from, say, the western beach entrance to the 'Laughing Dog'. This view seems uncontroversial.

The present proposed development attempts to nudge potential future developers on the site toward some design logic but this viewpoint isn't nearly broad enough to encompass the practical and environmental impact of what might be a new Brighton Centre on Black Rock with all it's as yet unresolved heritage and transport issues. (There isn't even a design yet.)

The full planning application now with the council proposes phase 2 and outline permission for phase 3 of largely private and some 'affordable' flats with parking, amenities and public walkways and open space - all this immediately south of the shed structures that are presently the David Lloyd Leisure Centre, the bowling alley and the casino. This will be built on reclaimed land and is intended to relate to phase 1 already built to  the east.

We have seen earlier designs for this site that included a slim 40 storey tower on the southwest corner and curvilinear  blocks of various heights. This has been superseded by a 28 storey tower plus eight buildings of eight -19 storeys, some forming a crescent facing the sea with several large blocks beside and behind.

This proposal is the start of intended radical changes to the profile of the city that claim to be inspired by the lovely Regency squares that define us. The Regency Society, while not hostile to change, progress and, in some cases, tall buildings, does not believe this proposal, conceived in isolation of other radical changes brewing, rises to the challenge of our city's social, economic and heritage needs.

Our objection submitted to the council details benefits and dis-benefits of the proposal as we see it.  Please read it here as it provides details about our concerns that outweigh the benefits sought.

 

Visual impressions within the development

Visual impressions from outside the development

Link

The Planning Forum, attended by members of the Regency Society and Hove Civic Society hovecivicsociety.org 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.

Circus Street

We frequently see how new developments result in the surrounding environment pulling its socks up whether through planning gain as with the i360 or inspired private opportunity. This application suggests the latter, inspired by the huge Circus Street mixed-use buildings quickly rising to unleash new vistas in a sensitive location.

No. 18 Circus Street is attached to 38 Grand Parade, a grade 2 listed building within the conservation area Valley Gardens. The application is for office space on the ground floor that includes a narrow and dilapidated shed/access on the south side. The first and second floors will be a two bedroom duplex. The intention is to achieve a change of use that will be a comfortable fit on an old street being offered a new life.

What do you think?  The Regency Society neither praises nor objects to this application.  It's a position rather saying 'it's good enough'.

13-22 September

Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival bringing together over 2,000 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of which are FREE to explore.

Every year in September, the bunting is unfurled and buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover the often hidden or forgotten gems on our doorsteps and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

Free of charge and right on people’s doorstep, Heritage Open Days is an event for everyone, whatever their background, age or ability. From castles to city halls, tunnels to tower tops, police cells to private homes, workshops to woodland walks, the variety of places and ways to discover them are endless.

Locally, Brighton & Hove’s contribution to the festival is organised by the Regency Town House which has been involved for nearly 30 years.  Often, Brighton & Hove are in the top five cities in the country for the number of events organised.  It’s yet another area where we ‘punch above our weight’.

Previous openings during the festival have included the Sussex Masonic Centre, Embassy Court, Duke of York’s cinema, Shoreham Lifeboat and behind the scenes at the Theatre Royal.

It is hoped to showcase the restoration of a Brighton tram, the WW2 air raid shelters under a school playground, the heritage of the Palace Pier as well as an exhibition and tour of the architecture of John Leopold Denman.  If none of that appeals, there should be up to 100 other events to pick from.  Also, for the first time, there will be a guided walk of the ‘Old Village of Hove’ by a Regency Society member.

See the event listings here as well as on the national website 

Some events must be booked but a large number will be ‘open door’ and you can just turn up.

 

"I'm not an architect, I'm a scouser of a certain age with too much time on his hands. Like most volunteers." So said Brian, our excellent RIBA guide to commercial Liverpool. In the space of an hour he steered us around the monuments to 19th Century trade and showed us how deeply Liverpool had been involved in the American Civil War as well as WW2, where the Blitz went on for weeks. We saw the beautiful bombed out but restored Oriel Chambers, as well as Shrapnel wounds to handsome stone buildings.

...continue reading "Merseyside Study Tour 2019"

Some things we do so well - with the help of fine weather and a lovely garden. Our guests and members, including some stalwart trustees, mingled, laughed and had a few serious words, no doubt, while enjoying too the added attractions this year of William Pye's garden water sculptures, the entrance to the secret tunnel and the practicality and perhaps the ultimate essence of a garden party, the marquee.

Our vice-president Gavin Henderson welcomed everyone on behalf of the Antony Dale Trust. We were honoured to entertain for the first time a member of the European Parliament who is also the city's new mayor, Green Councillor Alex Phillips. She spoke knowledgeably about the work we have done and are doing,  leaving us with a sense of a sincere interest in our pursuit of our objectives. Mary McKean, our chair, encouraged us to have a look at next years' lecture series with its particular emphasis on the local area including a rather special event in the newly restored Corn Exchange. 

Wine, raffle prizes and Martin Auton-Lloyd's delicious hors d'oeuvres seemed to please. Thank you for coming to the Regency Society summer party in the lovely Secret Garden. We look forward to seeing all of you and others next year.

with thanks to David Sears for the photos

Lovely lighting to Shelter Hall rotunda

As the new Shelter Hall at beach level comes more into public view, the lighting suggested for the rotunda that will appear at street level offers a stunning welcome to Brighton seafront.

 

Street communication hubs to replace phone kiosks - in some places

A new piece of community infrastructure will likely adorn some of the central streets in Brighton and Hove. This is offered by a partnership between BT and InLink to deliver a suite of urban tools to help connect and improve local streets at no cost to the taxpayer.  Tools include free ultrafast Wi-Fi, touchscreen tablets to access council services, BT phone book, maps and directions; induction loops and braille with TalkBack functionality, free phone calls, direct 999 button and more.

If approved, London Road will be the first to have two phone kiosks removed and the hub installed. Other locations have been identified, most along the central route to the seafront and around the cultural quarter.

As well, it will be possible to integrate environmental sensors to monitor air quality (in trial), noise and other environmental factors.

Over the years, the Regency Society has acquired a collection of books that have been kept in store. We have been clearing out the store, which was not really a suitable place to keep anything. The books have been offered to The Keep and to Brighton and Hove Libraries. We are now offering the following remaining titles to members in return for a donation to the society. A ‘guide price’ is provided, based on the lowest recent cost of acquiring the book from Amazon or Abebooks, where available. Any suitable donation is, of course, welcome.

Please send your title request and proposed donation to publishing@regencysociety.org with your email address. Books will be collected from the store in batches. We will propose a suitable delivery arrangement.

In the event that more than one person requests a title, the higher offer will secure the title.

See book list here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Audrey, a long-time member, trustee, officer and supporter of the Regency Society, died on 31 March 2019, aged 83

Audrey was a trustee of the Society, on and off, for 13 years during the period 1988-2011.She was very supportive of the Society. In particular she worked closely with chairs John Wells-Thorpe, Gavin Henderson and Stephen Nieman. One of the many events she organised was the 60th Anniversary Dinner in the Music Room of The Royal Pavilion, which was held in December 2005.

When she left the Regency Society committee, she established the 21st Century Society and Politico, both wide-discussion groups.

Wise, hospitable, sociable, innovative, stylish and elegant, resembling an Erté model, Audrey always championed Brighton and Hove.

Audrey was appreciative of our history and architectural heritage but occasionally she didn't agree with the ‘conservationists’. She often spoke up for modern development, prosperity and business. She always spoke against the banal and substandard, promoted good design and wise development. Audrey once said, ‘If a fearless Council had not built the Conference Centre, Brighton would have suffered the same fate as Bognor.’

Audrey was a successful business woman and hotelier, developing Brighton's first ‘boutique hotel’, the Granville, which she bought in 1978 when it was just a guest house.

Her energy was boundless. She travelled widely, often representing VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), offering training in hotel skills in the Third World. She served as a magistrate for 28 years.

She worked with many local organisations including City College, the Beacon Trust, the Chamber of Commerce and the Gardner Arts Centre. She was a major supporter of the Martlets Hospice and other charities. For many years she had a leading role in the Mayor's Charity fund raising events.

Audrey was also an active member of the West Pier Trust. One of her major achievements was supporting the i360.She stuck with the project to renovate this dilapidated area of Brighton for over 20 years. She ‘deferred’ her 80th birthday party until she was 81 in September 2016, so that she could have the celebrations on the i360.

Audrey is irreplaceable—not, as many thought, indestructible—and will be sadly missed by her family, friends and colleagues.

 

Link

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.

PLANNING FORUM APRIL 2019

If it must be Tudorbethan please understand when and how do apply it

If you take a walk around Rottingdean, you will probably not even notice Coppers, an uninspiring 1950’s building.  It is a brick-built bungalow with rooms added in the roof, surrounded by trees and not visible form the road. So why has the Regency Society taken an interest in it?

Firstly, it is in the Rottingdean Conservation Area. Secondly it is only about 50 metres away from Challoners, a grade II listed farmhouse.

The plan (BH2019/00809) is to turn Coppers into a substantial two storey house in the so called “Tudorbethan” style found in other buildings nearby, particularly in Dean Court Road.  We do not believe that the resulting building will do any serios damage to the conservation area or the setting of Challoners.

However, we do regret that choice of the mock tudor style. Coppers is not part of Dean Court Road, so the design should be related to the rest of the conservation area, rather than add another layer to the history of the Tudorbethan style.

The proposed design is totally lacking in the sophistication and wit of Tudor Close or the charm of Tudor Cottages, both nearby. It employs the stylistic grammar in a random manner with every part of the repertoire of details used. On the front, the large gable has less timbering than the smaller ones.

In relation to the restrained design of Challoners, the proposal can only be described as a "noisy neighbour".

The Society's annual general meeting took place on 3 April 2019 at 7 pm at the Metropolitan College in Pelham Street, Brighton. 

Mary McKean stood as Chair, Roger Hinton as Honorary Secretary, and Jamie Wright and Helen Walker as committee members. All were approved with well over a third of voters supporting their nominations.  With 55 votes cast, approvals were 52, 55, 54 and 54 respectively.

The annual report and accounts for 2018 are available here.

Candidates nomination statements are available here.

The full committee for 2019-2020 is available here along with personal profiles for each member here.