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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.

Penthouses on flat roofs: what justifies approval or non-approval?

Views from the i360 show us a lot of tall flat roofed housing blocks in the city. At the same time, Brighton knows it can pull into the city, Londoners who can afford to buy the pricey penthouse properties that are increasingly being proposed. Will this become a trend soon to fill the planning department’s pile of building applications? What might be the justifications for approving some and not others? This month the Planning Forum considered two such proposals.

 

Hove Manor on Hove Street is a 1930s block of flats in Old Hove Conservation area. Its narrow south end is one block from Kingsway near the King Alfred Centre. Presently seven stories, the application proposes an additional storey to create three very large rooftop flats and points out the nearby precedent at Viceroy Lodge that is now eight stories following similar additions. The application shows distant views of the proposal in order to demonstrate the visual impact on the neighbourhood. The intended cladding and fenestration have no relationship to the existing structure as can be seen in the photos below.

The details above have been taken into consideration when making a decision, however the Regency Society has not commented on this application, indicating neither support nor objection.

 

The Albemarle on Marine Parade is a 1970 mixed-use block of eight storeys with ground level parking, a bar, restaurant and nightclub on the first floor and 36 flats on the top six levels. The existing roof has a single storey lift motor room. It sits on a prominent site on the Brighton seafront near the pier. The proposal is to create four 2-bedroom 2-level apartments on the roof.  The two level units are intended to mask the existing protruding lift machinery as the lift will serve only the lower floor of the new units.

The application states that in design terms the existing building is bland to all elevations, its proportions are crude giving it a monolithic and heavy appearance, and  it contributes little to its local setting. The intention of the proposal is to transform the building “to create a landmark building worthy of its setting”.

As with Hove Manor the roof apartments are set back and the cladding and fenestration have no relationship to the existing structure.

The Regency Society has objected to this proposal on the grounds that this building is already too high in relation to its neighbours and the proposal for two extra floors will make its impact even more inappropriate, thus failing in its attempt  “to create a landmark building worthy of its setting”

Please see our submitted objection below.

The Regency Society objects to this proposal. The application states that the plan aims to transform a dull building into one “worthy of its setting”. The existing height and bland appearance of The Albemarle offers a visually discouraging impact on the seafront architecture of Marine Parade. Already out-of-keeping with its surrounds the proposal now seeks to extend that incompatibility by adding an additional two stories that relate in design to nothing that respects the style of the area. Furthermore, an unwelcome precedent may be set and penthouses on the Brighton seafront will not contribute to the housing crisis. This proposal fails in its attempt to transform the building to become an asset within the townscape.

 

Massive builds changing Davigdor Road

This application is for a significant site on Davigdor Road along the stretch westward from the Montefiore Hospital, Preece House and the new Artisan apartments. Presently, between the latter two, is a relatively small building overwhelmed by its neighbours.

The proposal is to provide enlarged office space for IMEX, presently on Ellen Street in Hove, and additional housing above, all within a part 5 storey, part 9 storey building with underground parking.

The application states, “The vision for this development is to relate and compliment the local environment, (by) complimenting the recently constructed Artisan block with another clean and crisp building that has its own distinct identity.”

The Regency Society opposes this application for its failure to respond sensitively to the surrounding architecture. The tower will appear higher than its drawings suggest; the slope on the east side, apparently driven by an attempt to comply with a covenant around light, is incompatible with the overall design; and the massing is inelegant, creating a structure that risks dominating what is already there. Furthermore, for all that bulk, the affordable housing element is only 18%.

 

 

 

 

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.

The Planning Forum looked at two significant applications in September, both just north of North Laine conservation area and each with a potentially dramatic impact on the physical environment of the area. The Regency Society is generally supportive of both albeit with comments on improving some details of each.

And, as the last entry you will see the society's submitted objection to Sea Lanes, the scheme presented in the August Planning Forum page.

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, Pelham Street, Brighton

This is a hybrid planning application seeking full planning permission for redevelopment of the existing college site (Site A, west side of Pelham Street) and outline permission for demolition of college-owned buildings on the east side of Pelham Street (site B, former York Place elementary schools) for housing.  Site B borders Valley Gardens conservation area to the west and North Laine conservation area to the south.

Site A - the existing Pelham Tower and college car park

The College seeks to enhance the interior of the existing 11 storey Pelham Tower and increase teaching space by building two three storey extensions adjoining the tower and into the existing car park.  A large portion of the car park will given over to landscaped open space, with cycle and some disabled parking.  Vehicular access will change. Present car park users will have to find alternate parking. The Regency Society had no major objections to this part of the application but suggested that greater attention be given to maximise improvement of the public realm.

Site B - east side of Pelham Street

Outline planning permission is sought to demolish the existing buildings to create up to 35 residential units in blocks, some of which may be up to 6 storeys.

The Regency Society noted  that this scheme offers no affordable housing on the grounds that all of the surplus generated by the housing element was needed to finance the re-furbishment of the tower and the new courtyard development on the car-park. Although this is disappointing it was recognised that, unlike most housing schemes, this one is designed specifically to enable improvements to the educational facilities provided by a public sector college and so the 0% affordable housing was, arguably, justifiable.

The society proposed that the college should be asked to look again at the viability of providing at least some affordable housing, taking into account not only the sites under consideration but also all of the college’s other properties elsewhere. 
Alternatively, or additionally, consideration could be given to allowing taller residential development on the east side of Pelham Street.

Longley Industrial Estate, New England Street & Elder Place, Brighton

This application forms a part of a larger masterplan for the whole of the area north from and including New England House to New England Road with east and west boundaries at Elder Street and New England Street.

The application site is presently a two storey block that would be demolished for a dense mixed use development for offices (3,333sqm), retail (308sqm), 208 residential units in blocks ranging from 3 to 18 storeys and landscaped open space that is intended to create pedestrian crossways to connect the surrounding areas to one another and to London Road.  Elder Place will be widened and landscaped for both car and pedestrian use. Although there is some underground car parking it is likely that the residential units will not have parking, in line with other developments in the New England Quarter. We understand that delivery bays and drop-off points will be provided so that additional traffic congestion will be minimal.

It was agreed that the building was appropriate for a brownfield site close to the main transport hub and the New England Quarter development.  There was no objection to the configuration or massing of the building though the height of the tallest block was noted as a possible concern.

However, it was agreed that the design was disappointing. Comparison was made with the Hove's Ellen Street scheme (currently subject of an appeal) which, like this proposal involves a series of  blocks of differing height and design, but with greater distinction between them that has the effect of softening the impact of the mass. Similarly, the residential elements of the Preston barracks site development were offered for comparison. (Both of these examples can be seen in the photos above.) It was agreed therefore that the proposed Longley site building, as currently designed, would represent a missed opportunity to create an architecturally beneficial addition to the area in need of significant upgrade and identity and should therefore be subject to a design review.

It was also agreed that the possible uses of the s.106 contributions which would result should be allocated after a meaningful consultation with the local community.

The masterplan, which does not form part of the application, suggests over-development of the area. Consultation is presently taking place on plans for Vantage Point with an application likely to be submitted late in this year or so. The Regency Society will continue to review the applications and record comments on this Planning Forum page of the website.

Sea Lanes (former Peter Pan playground site), Madeira Drive, Brighton: RS submission to the council

The Regency Society objects most strongly to granting this application, even temporarily.

Removing the dereliction of the former Peter Pan Playground site and providing the proposed pool are both worthwhile objectives. However, it seems implausible that development on the proposed scale could produce a return on investment within five years and cover the operating deficit of the pool and still be able to pay for reinstatement at the end of the term. If the company goes into liquidation, the Council would be landed with the cost of reinstatement.

The proposals are a gross overdevelopment of the site; the actual pool and its associated facilities could easily fit between Madeira Drive and the Volks Railway. A significant part of Madeira Drive would lose its seaward visibility; the few lines of vision through the serried ranks of the hutted encampment are at 45 degrees to the line of Madeira Drive and are no more than the minimum needed for circulation within it. They would become wind funnels in high winds.

The proposals would generate significant extra vehicular traffic and demand for parking on Madeira Drive, when the objective should be to reduce them both.

There is no recognition that Madeira Terrace is a Grade II listed building, so there is no assessment of its significance and of the adverse effect the proposals would have on its setting. There is therefore no way of assessing the supposed public benefits of the proposals against the undoubted harm which would be done to the significance of the listed building. The proposed development would be a completely incongruous neighbour to Madeira Terrace and would cut a substantial length of it off from its key relationship to the sea.

The proposals would have an adverse effect on the setting of all the other listed buildings on Madeira Drive, from the Palace Pier to the west, the only Grade II* seaside pier, to the Banjo Groin to the east. The proposals would also have an adverse effect on the unlisted heritage asset of the Volks Railway and be extremely detrimental to the character of the East Cliff Conservation Area.

The adverse impact on Madeira Terrace would not just be on its significance but upon its future viability. Apart from the competition from the proposal site, nobody will want to sit in a bar or café under the terrace when their view of the sea is blocked by an eyesore. The commercial elements required as enabling development to subsidise the swimming pool would be better placed within Madeira Terrace to fund its repair and future maintenance.

Permitting this egregious proposal could be fatal to hopes of saving Madeira Terrace. Contributors to the crowd-funding campaign would have every reason to feel betrayed, and any future fund-raising campaign would be starting off on the wrong foot. The Heritage Lottery Fund would be given good grounds for declining to support the rescue of Madeira Terrace.

 

 

 

 

 

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:

Can you help us form a view on the Sea Lanes planning application?

The Regency Society has not yet decided its view on this scheme on the former Peter Pan Playground site. The idea of a heated outdoor swimming pool for free-style swimming and to encourage safe and confident sea swimming was suggested a few years ago. At that time it was for a permanent Olympic size pool and associated enabling buildings. The council agreed a 150-year lease with Sea Lanes developers.

However this application is somewhat watered down to a temporary 25m x 12.5m pool for a five year trial period along with enabling buildings: changing and plant rooms, events space, lifeguard station, cycle parking, retractable beach mat and mixed leisure including retail, food, drink and offices. The lease is now for five years. The pool will be open to all and offer good provision for disabled swimmers.

Temporary relocatable modular buildings of 1-3 storeys will be installed with a first floor deck for the leisure aspects of the scheme.  If the idea proves to be successful an application for an olympic size pool and permanent buildings will be submitted in three years.

We would really like your views on this application. Please use the comment facility at the end of this article and help us form a view.  You can see the full application here

Plans for the existing synagogue site on Church Street

This is a controversial scheme. The Regency Society has objected on grounds of overdevelopment. The site is the existing synagogue and associated building at 29-31 New Church Road, Hove, that will be demolished.

The plan is for mixed-use residential and community in blocks of 4, 5 and 6 storeys to provide replacement children’s nursery, 2 classrooms for shared use by St Christopher’s school, offices, meeting rooms and cafe, underground car park and 35 flats. Between and connecting these blocks will be a new single storey synagogue.

Additionally, and of concern to the Regency Society, is the plan to build 10 town houses at the rear of the site. This intention, alongside the building mass across the site as described above, leaves very little open space.

The society has no objection to the amended heights of the blocks and welcomes retaining most of the mature trees at the front, but is unable to support a design that should not set a precedent for future developments.

See the full application here

 

Housing scheme for Hove - a model of good planning

The Regency Society supports this mixed-use scheme for 163 dwellings that exceed national space standards, 938 sqm of office accommodation and parking.

Four irregularly shaped buildings from five to ten storeys will connect via a podium that allows for parking underneath and shared gardens for residents above. Landscaping intentions are extensive including trees enabled by raised mounds on the podium that suggest an undulating green space of paths and gardens. The existing line of mature trees will be retained and define the vehicle entrance to the site.

The scheme abuts the railway line and replaces small industrial buildings. Peacock Industrial site to the west will remain. The built up area immediately to the south is on Davigdor Road identifiable by the new Artisan housing block, extensive offices and Montefiore Hospital.

This new scheme is generally welcomed, representing good use of a brownfield site and model for future developments. It is hoped that the planned 40% affordable element will not be diluted as the development progresses. The society has some concerns about the impact on local facilities, such as surgeries and schools.

See the full application here

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.

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.

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.