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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.

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.

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.

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.

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