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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.

Alasdair Glass explains

As part of the First World War centenary commemorations, English Heritage began a programme, continued by Historic England, to list 2,500 war memorials as buildings of special interest, more than doubling the number already listed. They also recognised that a relatively low proportion of memorials were listed at the higher grades of Grade II*- particularly important buildings of more than special interest - and Grade I - of exceptional interest. Lewes War Memorial was upgraded to II* in October 2014, at the instigation of the War Memorials Trust, the national charity that works to protect and conserve war memorials in the UK.

With all but the most modest or damaged memorials listable for their historic interest, special criteria were needed to determine their appropriate grading. In March 2015, the month before they split with Historic England, English Heritage convened a meeting including the War Memorials Trust to review the grading of all 44 memorials in England designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Hove War Memorial was considered not to justify upgrading.

Historic England issued guidance in June 2015 that “Grade II* will be warranted for those memorials with an above-average level of interest: they may be highly unusual in form or symbolism or of a high level of artistic accomplishment.” Comparing the Lewes and Hove memorials against this makes it clear why the former warranted upgrading and the latter did not. More intriguing perhaps is why Lewes, with a third of the population of Hove, has such a splendid memorial and Hove such a mediocre one.

Lewes War Memorial is of exceptional sculptural interest as the work of Vernon March (1891-1930). Untutored, he became the youngest exhibitor at the Royal Academy in 1907, at the age of 16. Having learnt to fly before the war, he joined the Royal Flying Corps, but his poor eyesight prevented him from serving as a pilot. He was noted for the vigour of his figures, three of which, Victory, Peace and Liberty adorn the memorial. His early death at the age of 38 makes his war memorials his main legacy. In the UK, his memorial at Lewes is only matched by that in Londonderry, but the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa is by far his most impressive work.

Sited in the middle of the junction of Lewes High Street and Market Street, the tight composition and the verticality of the design gains stature from its constricted position. The figure of Victory gestures east towards the dawn and some corner of a foreign field that is forever Sussex.

By contrast, Hove War Memorial is of architectural interest as the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), the “go-to” architect for war memorials. Lutyens had ambitions for an obelisk or a cenotaph, a wooden mock-up of which was set up on Hove Lawns. The columnar form is unusual for him, but duplicated the same year at Fordham, Cambridgeshire. The unimpressive column is further diminished by its setting in the yawning void of Grand Avenue.

The sculptor was Sir George Frampton (1860-1928), who had achieved eminence and was a member of the Royal Academy’s Executive Committee on War Memorials. His most important memorial is that to Edith Cavell in London. He had first used a figure of St George at the Radley College Boer War Memorial in 1903. Now in his 60s, his statues at Hove and at Fordham are formulaic and lacking originality. St George turns his back on the sea, beyond which so many sons of Hove had died.

Lewes benefited from holding a competition and recognising an outstandingly good entry, unlike Hove which took the easy way out of making the obvious choice. The Lewes memorial committee was over-ambitious, naming all 25I of the fallen on the actual monument. Embarrassingly, the final cost of £2,645 was not paid off for several years afterwards. The Hove memorial cost just £1,537, with the names of the 631 fallen engraved on brass plaques in the entrance to Hove Library, leaving some residual funds for war charities. With Hove Library reprieved from closure, it is to be hoped that these memorial plaques can remain indefinitely in their original location, together with the rare collection of war records, photographs and ephemera which make up the Hove Roll of Honour.

 

Photos

Hove: By Hassocks5489 - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72636454

Lewes: By Poliphilo - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50201379

The name George Burstow is rarely—no, never—grouped with the names of Wilds and Busby et al. Yet the firm of George Burstow & Sons was responsible for many more terraces in Brighton, the ones away from the Regency seafront, the ones where Brightonians have lived since the end of the Victorian era. From 1901 to 1905 he built over 1,800 houses in Brighton, almost half the total in that period.

...continue reading "Meet Brighton’s most prolific house builder"

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.

The trouble with compromise: Sea Lanes tries again

There are many supporters of this scheme for our seafront and it’s not difficult to understand why. It’s appealing in many ways and the changes made in the latest application are indeed improvements. But it’s an unfortunate clash with our hopes for Madeira Arches. Perhaps, in this case, there can be no compromise.

When considering the latest application we reviewed our comments on the first one.  We had objected to it on a number of grounds the main one being the need for a holistic approach on the re-development of Madeira Drive. This matched the position of Historic England.  How would the proposal impact on Madeira Arches both in terms of winning funding to carry out the repairs and the viability and long term enjoyment of the unique and treasured Victorian terrace?  We also considered the viability of the Sea Lanes scheme that left us with questions that, as yet, have no answer.

Interesting it is that both schemes require commercial support, the arches for maintenance and Sea Lanes for financial sustainability.  For Madeira Arches there is an intention to create outlets within some of the arches while still maintaining the covered promenade.  For Sea Lanes it is one and two storey units offering offices, refreshments and shops. What would be the impact of both plans running competitive outlets? Do we want such change a of tone along that bit of seafront that presently provides wide views out to sea, unobscured by buildings and peaceful strolls, removed from the bustle of the pier and the marina?  It’s over development in our minds and there can be no compromise in this case.  Therefore we have again objected to the application.

Unfortunately the application is going to planning committee on 3rd April with a recommendation 'minded to approve'. This is despite Historic England and the Heritage Team opposing it.

Below is the Regency Society's objection submitted to the Planning Department:

“The Regency Society objected to the previous scheme and fully supports the Planning Committee's reasons for refusing it. The revised scheme concentrates on the design and materials for the proposed new buildings on Madeira Drive. It also provides improved views and access ways from the roadway through to the beach.  The pool itself has also been moved a little further north. As a result, the scheme is somewhat better than the previous proposal.

However, it does nothing to address the reasons for which the previous scheme was refused.  The proposed new buildings on Madeira Drive will have an adverse impact on the neighbouring listed buildings and on the character of the conservation area. We believe that there is a serious risk that a scheme of this kind would reduce the Council’s chances of obtaining grant funding for the restoration of the Madeira Arches.”

The annual Anthony Dale lecture was held on 6 March in the Music Room of the Royal Pavilion. Exceptionally, refreshment afterwards was served in the Banqueting Room, passing through the splendidly restored Saloon on the way.

The speaker was Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, the public body formed in 2015 by separating out the charity which has kept the brand name of English Heritage. This cares for the over 400 monuments which make up the so-called National Heritage Collection, ranging from Stonehenge to, nearest to home, Bramber Castle.

Historic England makes recommendations for listing historic buildings to the Secretary of State, almost all of which are accepted. Conservation areas are designated by planning authorities.

Listed building consent is granted by planning authorities; Historic England can only advise, though it can and on occasion does appeal to the Secretary of State if it objects. It is also concerned with developments which would adversely affect the setting of listed buildings and/or the character of conservation areas.

Historic England supports change provided any adverse effect on the historic environment is justified by the public benefit. It recognises that appropriate enabling development may be required to overcome the conservation deficit, as at Battersea Power Station.

It also recognises that historic buildings need to be economically viable. It is not enough simply to conserve the fabric of Madeira Terrace, some beneficial use of the arches will be necessary to fund future maintenance.

(with thanks to Alasdair Glass for this summary)

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

See results of the committee election here.