Category Archives: Planning

Complaint re 140-146 Springfield Road Planning Application

From: Robert Rosenthal <drrosenthal@hotmail.com>

Sent: 22 March 2017 16:17
To:liz.hobden@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Cc:robin.hodgetts@brighton-hove.gov.uk; Leo Littman; Julie Cattell; Sonia.Gillam@brighton-hove.gov.uk; ‘Edward White’; Sylvia Peckham; caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk; ‘Grenville Nation’

Subject: 140-146 Springfield Road

Dear Ms Hobden

I write to express concern over your department’s management of the planning conditions relating to the plot of land between the Open House pub on Springfield Road and the railway line. There are clear S106 conditions relating to this permission, insisting on the sensitive relocation of slow worms before the commencement of development.

A critical question throughout has been ‘what constitutes commencement?’ When the developers breached the wall (which is not part of the development area and is not the property of the developer as legal documents in our possession show) to gain access and clear all vegetation from the site, we were told by Cllr Cattell that it was well established in planning circles  that commencement is marked by the breaking of ground for foundation work. Therefore we were told this demolition and vegetation clearance did not represent ‘commencement’ and so was not a breach of the S106 conditions. Therefore no action could be taken to prevent the vegetation clearance.

Now Mr Hodgetts and Ms Gillam tell us that commencement was marked by the breaching of the wall and vegetation clearance. In this case the S106 conditions have clearly been breached in which case the council had then -and has now- an obligation to take action to prevent all development until they have been met. It is a perverse twist of logic to argue retrospectively and in addition, that S106 conditions ‘ aren’t impacted by the demolition of the wall … and are still possible to discharge’. While the breaching of the wall may not of itself be seen as damaging to slow worm population, it is surely beyond dispute that the subsequent clearance of the vegetation has represented a deliberate destruction of the habitat that supports slow worm existence in spite of ongoing investigation and discussion of the status of the slow worm community. This represents a legal offence according to the definition provided by Ms Gillam, as the developers have in so doing ‘intentionally kill(ed) or injure(d) a slow worm(s)’.   The developers’ actions have violated the spirit as well as the letter of planning conditions.

I am sorry to say that in this case council officers seem to have provided more support and succor for the developer than they have acted as guardians of the local community interest. And it comes as a shocking coup de grace for Ms Gillam to write that ‘The ownership of the wall is irrelevant in terms of commencement of development’ and for Mr Hodgetts to announce that he has now closed the enforcement case as there are ‘no enforceable breaches’.

I request that you intervene personally to investigate your officers’ handling of this case, that the case remain open and that public concerns be given the serious consideration that they deserve. Enforcement is now urgently required to ensure no further development take place until all conditions have been met.

Yours sincerely

Robert Rosenthal (Chair – Southdown Rise Residents’ Association)


Nicola Hurley’s letter in response to Rob’s complaint – BHC-025706 Springfield Road

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The Signalman – Flats proposed in place of beer garden

ditchlingrisebrighton

siggygarden.jpg largeOwners of our neighbourhood pub submitted two planning applications for the alteration of the premises in March.

Development of ‘former beer garden’ into flatsApplication number: BH2017/00829
On March 9th a planning application was submitted by Inn Brighton Properties Ltd to erect a 3 storey building containing 3 two bedroom flats on what the application states is the ‘former beer garden of The Signalman public house, now disused.’ To date objections have been submitted by immediate neighbours of the pub who have been consulted, stating their concerns about overlooking, loss of light, loss a rare community open space in the area and detrimental impact on adjoining in buildings. In addition they express surprise, as do we, that it is claimed to be a ‘former’ pub garden.
This application is due for decision on May 22nd

Installation of staircase to rear yard –Application number: BH2017/00920
On March 16th an…

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Concerns over secrecy surrounding arena at Black Rock

From The Argus

Black Rock

Conservationists have raised concerns about the secrecy surrounding one of the largest development projects in the city’s history.

The Regency Society has called for more information to be made public about the £540 million Waterfront project for Brighton, saying they are concerned plans to build a new 10,000-capacity arena could be set in concrete before the city gets a say.

The civic group has warned the plans to also expand Churchill Square could see the “lively heart” of the city’s independent shops threatened by “a large, monolithic shopping centre”.

Brighton and Hove City Council directors said the authority was in negotiations with Standard Life Investments over a “complex land swap” but has committed to full engagement when talks have concluded.

It is planned to demolish the Brighton Centre and Kingswest cinema to expand Churchill Square shopping centre and fund a new “world-class” conference and events centre at Black Rock.

Architects WilkinsonEyre, who designed the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the London Olympics’ basketball arena as well as drawing up initial designs for the Madeira Terraces, are developing a masterplan for the scheme, expected to create 2,000 jobs and bring £4.6 million annually for the public purse.

Initial council timelines had anticipated public consultation to start around now to allow a planning application to be submitted next year.

In February the council was granted £12 million from Coast to Capital LEP towards the cost of redeveloping Black Rock which has been derelict for 30 years.

Regency Society chairman Roger Hinton said the major project could have serious repercussions for the city but residents and amenity groups have received minimal details.

The group is concerned about access to an expanded Churchill Square and the arena which is 2.5 miles from the city’s main railway station.

Mr Hinton said: “We are worried that a major deal is about to be struck which could make huge changes to our city. We are disappointed so little effort is being made to consult with interest groups and local people to ensure we share the council’s vision.”

Council leader Warren Morgan said: “I know the charge is sometimes made the council is too secretive. We want to engage with people as much as possible but obviously we have always got the concerns around the need to negotiate properly and privately with people without doing it in the full glare of publicity where things get taken out of context.

“It is balance that we have to strike and hopefully we are getting it right.”

Council calls for cash to save our seafront

From The Argus

Madeira Terraces regeneration

Businesses and residents will be asked to dig deep for the £23 million restoration of the Madeira Terraces as the council aims to bounce back from its funding blow.

Local talent will be “harnessed” to find solutions to restore Brighton’s crumbling seafront arches which have been propped up by scaffolding for almost two years.

Council leader Warren Morgan said he would “not give up” despite the council’s failure to attract £4 million Government funding earlier this month.

A four-point proposal is now being promoted to save the Grade II listed terraces involving crowdfunding, lottery funding, involving local talent and finding “meanwhile” and “pop-up” projects to keep Madeira Drive busy and create income ahead of a full restoration.

The council will look to match an initial £4 million of funding to carry out restoration to a third of the half-mile long terraces which could then create investment to help complete the rest of the structure.

Under the crowdfunding plan, corporate sponsors, tourist organisations and residents will be asked to help with initial support – already expressed from Brighton and Hove Albion and Brighton and Hove Buses.

Councillor Morgan said the scheme could be “a modern twist” on the Victorian public subscription model which initially funded the terraces’ creation and construction over seven years in the 1890s.

The authority is also preparing a bid to the Heritage Lottery’s Enterprise Fund in June among possible public funding streams while the Public Works Loan Board, which supplied £36.2 million for the construction of the i360, is also being considered to part fund the project.

The council has also been invited to reapply for the Coastal Communities Fund later this year.

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid said the council’s application had failed to meet the requirements lacking significant design work, planning submission and match funding along with a considerable wait until January 2019 before work would begin.

The Lockwood Project, named after terraces designer Phillip Cawston Lockwood, was unveiled last year and proposes up to 50 glass-fronted pods for businesses, cafes and shops.

Cllr Morgan said: “Our fight to save this iconic structure continues unabated.

“We can’t do this alone and we know people are keen to help renovate this historic landmark in our city.

“We will harness the city’s energy, creativity and affection for the terraces to get the project off the ground. At the same time we will leave no stone unturned, seeking every possible avenue of funding from Government and other sources.

“We want to inspire private and corporate investors to join us in saving a nationally important structure on one of the world’s most recognisable seafronts by the much-loved pebble beach. I’m not giving up on this. We’re determined to find a way of funding the restoration of the terraces.”

Under the plans, a seafront investment team combining economic bodies, hotels, tourist attractions and civic groups will meet later this month for the first time to develop “a collaborative way forward”. There have been calls for greater unity to tackle the major infrastructure project following the failed funding bid.

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby has called for cross-party cooperation to save the structure.

He said: “I am more than happy to work with the council, councillors and MPs from all parties to help save the Madeira Terraces which are such an important part of Brighton Kemp Town. Now is not the time to play party politics but to come together and work on addressing the concerns about the project and come up with a new bid.”

Toad’s Hole Valley Consultation

From Brighton & Hove News

The public are being asked to help shape the future of Hove’s biggest new housing estate, with at least 700 homes planned for Toad’s Hole Valley.

A draft blueprint has been drawn up which, once adopted, will set the limits on what can and can’t be built on the 91-acre site on the northern edge of Hove.

And to encourage people to look at what’s at stake, Brighton and Hove City Council has released a video as part of the call for input.

To find out more and to take part in the consultation online, visit the dedicated page on the council website www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/toadsholevalley.

Click here for the full story.

Anston House – from the Brighton Society

From Brighton Society

The latest application for the Anston House site with three tower blocks of up to 15 storeys was approved in December.  We were extremely disappointed as it ignores many critical planning policies and sets a precedent for similar high rise buildings across the city.

We submitted a twelve page objection to the application emphasising that it did not comply with planning policies that were the reason for rejecting the previous application.

We pointed out that a low rise, high density, development was entirely possible. And we provided an overshadowing analysis showing that the Rose Garden and adjacent areas of Preston Park would be in shadow for 6 months of the year.  Our objections were not mentioned at the committee meeting.

For such a crucial application we were expecting an intense level of discussion but many critical questions were never debated or even asked.  And there were so many questions that should have been asked.  Why the massive overdevelopment of the site  – 230 flats, and towers twice the height of any nearby buildings? Why were the issues of scale, height, overbearing impact, important views, overshadowing and overlooking not discussed and why were the policies that cover these issues completely ignored?  How could it be acceptable for such high towers to be built up against small terraced housing?  Whatever happened to the planning policies that specify that developments have to be sympathetic to the local area? How could the committee meekly accept that 13% affordable housing was acceptable when 40% is the current requirement? The local residents’ group presented a strong case for rejection because of over-development, overbearing presence in the surrounding area, and detrimental effect on the listed Preston Park and on the houses in Dyke Road Drive – all contrary to numerous planning policies.  In addition, the percentage of affordable housing was minimal and the amount of commercial space was inadequate. The previous application was rejected for similar reasons so logically this one should have been too.

To add insult to injury the spokesman for the Conservation Advisory Group, who is ex officio a member of the planning committee, was only called upon to speak after a majority of the councillors had confirmed that they were going to approve the application.  So much for any consideration of the conservation issues.  Reasons given by councillors for it were: a liking of tall buildings; the site has been derelict for years so anything is better than nothing;  dislike of the design but something has to be built; we ought to be thankful for 13% affordable homes because it’s free.  Only two councillors voted against the application on planning policy issues.

The result has driven massive holes into the planning policies. It will create a miserable environment for residents in the adjacent terraced housing, will dominate and overshadow Preston Park and will set a precedent for 15 storey tower blocks to become the norm.  And the acceptance of 13% affordable housing sets the bar so low that other developers will see this as what they will be able to get away with.

The views expressed are those of the Brighton Society, not of SRRA.

The webcast of proceedings can be viewed here – http://brighton-hove.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/203922.