Is it finally the end for Anston House?

From The Argus

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A building dubbed ‘Sussex’s ugliest’ could come tumbling down within the next six months if developers get the green light next week.

Brighton and Hove City Council planning officers have recommended Anston House should be levelled and replaced by a 229-flat complex despite the objections of more than 450 residents. Should planning committee members agree with officers next week, building work could begin early next year and be completed in 2019.

Developers First Base and Hyde Housing are the latest to try their luck in seeing off the nine-storey building which has stood derelict off Preston Road for almost 30 years and which has been the subject of a dozen unsuccessful planning applications in the last 15 years.

The partnership are proposing three towers of between 13 and 15 storeys and three smaller blocks totalling 229 flats though the scheme falls below council’s requirements for 92 affordable homes offering just 46 for shared ownership.

The independent District Valuer has agreed with developers that it is only economically viable to provide half of the required 40 per cent affordable housing.

The applicants say additional café and flexible office space will support 280 new jobs as well as hundreds more during the construction phase as well as bringing £1.3 million of funding for school, transport and recreational improvements through s106 payments. The site will also have 111 car parking spaces which opponents to the scheme have labelled both too many and not enough.

The plans have attracted 465 letters of objection and a petition of more than 3,700 signatures but it does have the backing of Brighton Chamber of Commerce while the Friends of Preston Park believe any overshadowing would not harm visitor’s enjoyment of the park. Opponents to the scheme say it is too high, will have a detrimental impact on parts of Preston Park, offers too few affordable homes and described the design as an “unwelcome return to 1960s and 70s anti-social and unsightly high rises”.

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The council’s heritage officers have also objected saying that at 50 metres in height, the tallest tower would be “unduly assertive and overly dominant”.

A First Base spokeswoman said the firm had designed the buildings to minimise “impact on the local area”, in particular any impact on Preston Park’s rose garden and rotunda while maintaining views of the park for residents living behind Anston House.

She added: “We are really pleased that the planning officers are recommending the plans for approval. We have spent the best part of two years talking to local residents to understand what they want from Anston House. It was really loud and clear that residents wanted to see it go, it is a real blot on the Brighton landscape, and they wanted to see much needed homes and jobs delivered which Brighton needs.”

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