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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 Old Ship Hotel changes with the times

Big changes are planned for the Old Ship Hotel.  It is the oldest hotel in Brighton, first recorded as such in 1665.  The assembly rooms, well known for hosting a Niccola Paganini concert in 1831, date from 1767. They were listed grade II* in 1952.

Extensions have been added over the years but this application suggests the grandest yet. The hotel garage in Black Lion Street will be demolished to make way for 54 additional bedrooms.  In Ship Street, the rather dead street frontage is to be reconfigured to provide retail units and the unsightly external fire escape enclosed.

On the front elevation there is to be a single storey mansard roof extension towards the western end of the building. Additionally, out of sight from the street, a swimming pool with a retractable roof is to be installed in the inner courtyard.

The Old Ship did not become the oldest hotel in Brighton without moving with the times. We welcome these improvements and hope that they will help to ensure it continues to play an important part in Brighton’s role as a major seaside resort.

Please read the Society's comment to the council on this application.


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.

This month the Regency Society Planning Forum considered just four applications that together propose more than 1800 residential units for the city. This is not a usual cluster of applications but, like buses, they can bunch up.

New housing in the city - is there another way?

Increasingly, objections to new housing schemes target issues like ‘not in keeping with surrounding properties’ and added ‘traffic congestion’.  There’s no question, If the applications under consideration actually get built the city will look very different, something difficult to prevent in an area bound by sea and the South Downs.  There are, however, those who disagree with this conclusion.

The largest is Toad’s Hole Valley suggesting up to 880 low-rise units (40% affordable) plus a secondary school, GP surgery, community centre and workspaces.  This is an outline planning application that seeks to establish whether the proposed development would be acceptable to the local planning authority. If successful, a detailed application is submitted. Please see application here . (You will see around 290 documents. Scroll down to the Design and Access Statements. Tick the two documents. View them using the button to the right of the document.)

Not far behind in number of residential units is a full planning application for the Sackville Trading Estate and Hove Goods Yard.  It offers 604 mostly high-rise apartments, all for rent, and 265 residential apartments with flexible levels of care for elderly people.  The scheme, if agreed, will dramatically alter the scale of the area and create a towering new neighbourhood, not immediately easy to digest and that we may see happening in other parts of the city.  Please see application here . (Scroll down to Design and Access statement Section 1, view and refer to contents page. Choose the aspects of the plan that you're interested in, return to list and select. View using buttons on the right.)

The remaining  units, on two different sites, are being brought forward by a joint venture between Brighton and Hove City Council and Hyde Housing to deliver 1000 affordable homes across the City over the next 5 years or so. These sites will provide 50% shared ownership and 50% affordable rent.

One is on land east of Coldean Lane, above Varley Hall, providing 250 units, many of which are family homes. The scheme provides play space and green areas as well as a path into Stanmer Wood.  Pedestrian refuges and reduced speed limits on Coldean Lane will, it is hoped, make safe crossing the road to access the village and its amenities.  Please see application here.  (Select the one Design and Access statement and view using button on right.)

The other scheme will provide 111 units on a brownfield site in Clarendon Place in Portslade. Measures to encourage a car free life style, such as membership to the city car club, a cycle voucher and a season ticket on city buses, will be offered to early residents.  Please see application here.  (Select all five Design and Access statements and view.)


The Regency Society will not be submitting comments of objection or praise for any of these proposals (although comments on Toad’s Hole Valley may come later). This implies a degree of approval in the context of the priorities facing the city.  Overall we welcome 604 rent-only apartments and 361 affordable homes.



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.


Proposed Marina 40 storey tower now down to 28

One of the most controversial planning decisions in Brighton and Hove in recent years was the approval for a 40-storey residential tower in the outer harbour at Brighton Marina. This is the area south of the fitness centre, bowling alley and casino that will be constructed from the seabed.

New plans for the site are currently being prepared which will provide 800 new homes, including a tower of just 28 storeys and underground parking. The developers, Brighton Marina Group, aim to create a “piece of the city” on the waterfront.

The buildings will rise from the level of the walkway along the sea wall enabling a much needed, new pedestrian entrance to the Marina from the beach and Madeira Drive. This flat public pedestrian walkway will link to the existing boardwalk.

The new buildings will be finished in re-constituted stone, rather than brick or render and the landscaped squares designed to withstand the severe climate.

Further details of the designs are to be released for consultation on Wednesday 9thJanuary at the Malmaison Hotel in the Marina, between 4pm and 8pm.




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%.





There is nothing more central to our heritage than the Royal Pavilion Estate. In the early years of our existence, the Regency Society fought hard and successfully for the then badly delapidated Royal Pavilion.

Too often we write with disappointment about new projects where quality architects have been replaced by cheaper alternatives once permission has been obtained, or of contractors who do not appreciate the care required when working with historic sites. It is, therefore, particularly heartening to report on a project supervised throughout by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and realised by R. Durtnell and Sons, a family business established since 1591 with a track record of delivering high profile heritage restoration projects.

This project is now at an advanced stage. Much twentieth century addition has  been stripped away and the original, simple magnificence of the widest span timber frame building in Britain, the Prince Regent's Riding School, is beginning to re-emerge. Gone and unmourned are the mirroring on the windows, the incongruous 'wagon wheel' hanging light, the painted roof, and much else. We have heritage to be proud of and it is good to see it cared for and made fit for purpose as a state of the art twenty-first century performance venue.

Much of the funding is already in place for this project but members are encouraged to consider making a contribution to help raise the final 10%. (see below).

The Brighton Dome and Festival team write:

'Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s transformational £21.2 million project to redevelop the Grade I Corn Exchange and Grade II listed Studio Theatre is well underway. These extraordinary venues were in urgent need of repair and renovation to continue welcoming artists and audiences. As well as preserving the unique heritage, visitors will enjoy more comfortable, accessible spaces with improved acoustics, lighting and seating. The wider project includes a new viewing gallery for visitors to observe creativity at work in the Corn Exchange, new bars, a café opening up onto New Road and a new creative space for artists and community groups.

After eighteen months on site and generous public and private support, over 90% of funding is in place towards the total project costs. Brighton Dome is now seeking support from audiences for their community campaign ‘Build Brighton Dome’, inviting individuals to make a donation or even Name a Seat in the redeveloped Corn Exchange. Build Brighton Dome has so far raised over £55,000 towards the total £250,000 needed. Thanks to The Roddick Foundation all donations, including seat donations, will be doubled so whatever people choose to give at this crucial time will mean even more.

Name a Seat

Honour the memory of someone special, share your love of music or surprise a loved one with a unique gift. In appreciation, your name - or a nominated name - will be inscribed on a seat plaque in the refurbished Corn Exchange for a minimum of twenty years. Seat donations start from £25 a month over 12 months. For more information please call 01273 260818 or email to request a form in the post.

Make a donation

All donations will make a difference. To donate online, please visit: or you can donate via text: Text BDFL18 £3 to 70070 (you can change the donation amount for anything up to £10).'

Images: Top: Detail of Corn Exchange window (looking down into the public Hall). Image by Carlotta Luke. Centre: Visualisation of the Corn Exchange cross section. Image by FCBS architects  Corn Exchange works in progress (view from the new balcony). Image by Carlotta Luke


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.

We looked at 2 schemes for student housing this month.

Melbourne Street: Too big

The first is a very large development proposed for Melbourne Street, just off the Lewes Road near the gyratory.

The application is being made by Vita Brighton 1 Ltd which is part of a group which develops and operates student accommodation.

It will involve demolition of an existing office building and a workshop.  The new building will provide 350 student rooms, plus communal facilities. It will also include 20 affordable homes and over 1,000 square metres of employment space.

The society has no objection to a development of this kind in this location.  However, we are objecting to the massing of the proposed building which we think will have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties.

Falmer: Too ugly

The second student housing scheme is for a site in Falmer near the station.  It is currently occupied by two rather dilapidated cottages of no particular heritage value, which will be demolished.

The proposed replacement is a four-storey building which would provide accommodation for 71 students with associated cycle and car parking and some landscaping.

So far so good, but look at the design! One member described it politely as “too urban” for the location. Another was more blunt, describing it as looking like a prison.

So, as with the previous scheme, we’re saying yes to the proposed demolition and use for student housing, but no to the proposed building, this time on the grounds of a design which is unsympathetic to its neighbours and its location.

Modern design in Brunswick Town

Brunswick Street West is located behind the large houses on the east side of Lansdowne Place.  It was probably a mews and like many similar streets in the area it has been re-developed in a variety of ways over the years.

This scheme relates to a site on the east side, about one third of the way down from Western Road.  It has been used recently by a car sales business.

The proposal is to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with five, three-storey, three-bedroom dwellings.  The design is modern but not particularly exciting.

However, it will provide five small homes in a “desirable” location and will probably look a lot better than what is there now.  So, the society is not making any comment.

Clermont Terrace: but what will it look like?

Clermont Church is in Clermont Terrace just south of Preston Park Station.  It was built in 1877-8 to a design by local architect, J G Gibbins. It is an attractive building with an impressive, high-pitched roof.

It is located in the Preston Park conservation area and is locally listed  It is no longer in use as a church. Behind the church there is a more recent, two storey extension which is currently used by the Brighton Academy of Performing Arts.

The Academy wants to expand its space by adding a further storey.  Our image shows the current view from the south west approach to the site.  This suggests that a third storey could have an adverse effect on the appearance of the fine pitched roof.

The problem is we don’t really know, because the applicant has not included a drawing or “artist’s impression” to show what the new view would be from the street. Nor does the application include a heritage statement to explain the significance of the existing building.  So, we are objecting on the grounds of inadequate information.

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