Tag Archives: Anston House

End is nigh for ugliest building in Sussex

From The Argus

Anston House

The clock is ticking for Sussex’s ugliest building as its demolition date draws closer.

Demolition of the infamously unaesthetic landmark Anston House, which has been leering over Preston Park in Brighton since 1969 and been vacant for almost two thirds of its existence, is due to begin later this year.

It looks set be the first of three developments worth £100 million whose construction has been held up by red tape and complex negotiations since they were given the green-light in December.

In total, the three developments, which include Station Street in Brighton and the former Texaco garage in Kingsway, Hove, will deliver almost 300 new homes, 10,000 square metres of business space and nearly 1,000 jobs on sites that have been derelict for more than half a century combined.

The planning committee decisions to grant consent to the three projects, all in excess of seven storeys, was greeted with criticism and derision in some quarters by campaigners who claimed the schemes would set a precedent for the city to be transformed into “Croydon-on-sea”.

Anston House developers First Base have been involved in complex discussions with Brighton and Hove City Council over Section 106 agreements with site preparation underway as the developers deal with a number of issues including slow worms.

But haters of the building will not get the chance for a cathartic moment watching the structure being blown to the ground. Instead its demolition will be a gradual process over a number of weeks.

The construction of its replacement will take the best part of two years, with residents due to move in in 2019.

The site next to the King Alfred in Hove is said to be “under construction” though the fenced-off site has not altered since the petrol station closed in 2015.

A nine-storey block of 55 flats and the redevelopment of the 109-year-old Alibi pub are planned for the site by Rocco Homes, which has four projects in the pipeline around Worthing, including 32 apartments in Chapel Road and 76 flats in The Causeway in Durrington.

For the long derelict corner site of Station Street, currently used as an ad-hoc car park, a seven-storey grade A office block has been granted consent.

Developer McAleer & Rushe will announce later this year when work is set to begin on the site.

A First Base spokeswoman said: “We are excited about the possibilities for Anston House which has been derelict for too long. We are in the final stages of completing the Section 106 planning agreement and have been carrying out preliminary survey work ahead of construction. It is hoped that work will start in the near future.”


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.

Three projects that could turn Brighton and Hove into ‘city of concrete’

From The Argus

The Anston House proposal

The Anston House proposal

Three high-rise developments bringing almost 300 new homes and 10,000 sqm of business space have been given the go-ahead despite concerns they will change the very nature of Brighton and Hove.

Projects to redevelop Anston House, a vacant lot in Blackman Street and a former petrol station in Kingsway, Hove, estimated to be worth around £100 million were given planning permission at the city council’s planning committee on the 14th December.

Residents claim the approved plans will set a precedent for much higher buildings – turning Brighton and Hove into “a city of concrete blocks” like Croydon.

Furious campaigners were also critical that the two housing projects fell well below the council’s requirement for 40 per cent affordable housing and warned it was setting “a very low bar” for developers.

Labour councillor Lloyd Russell-Moyle said the council needed to be less “lily-livered” on affordable housing and council policies should be beefed.

The approved schemes will bring back into use three sites that have stood vacant for more than half a century between them.

Councillors were unanimous in their praising of office plans for the vacant lot in Blackman Street which had been a desolate “eyesore” for more than 20 years.

The seven-storey block will bring “desperately needed” grade A office space to the city and potentially support 680 jobs.

A nine-storey block of 55 flats and the redevelopment of the historic Alibi pub in Hove have also been granted consent with just twelve affordable homes.

Save Hove campaigner Valerie Paynter described the old Texaco petrol station project as “a cacophonous pile of boxes” while Conservative Carol Theobald said the building was “ugly”, “too high” and looked like a Lego building.

Anston House sparked the most heated debate during a long planning session with ward councillor Kevin Allen and said the “grotesquely high” towers would be a “Manhattanisation” of the city.

Green councillor Leo Littman warned councillors not to allow “desperation” to cloud their judgement on the decision.

In backing the scheme, Councillor Phelim MacCafferty said it would create a “visionary welcome to the city” while Conservative Lynda Hyde warned that asking for too much from developers would stop them bringing forward schemes.

Resident William Shaw, who spoke against the Anston House redevelopment, said councillors “had nowhere left to go” under pressure to meet housing requirements and meet national housing policy.

He said: “People will be very shocked what is going up in the middle of Brighton.

“For better or worse, this will set a precedent for what Brighton becomes and we don’t want Brighton to become Croydon.”

Is it finally the end for Anston House?

From The Argus


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”.


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.”


Preston and Patcham Society respond to planned scheme for Anston House

From Civic Brighton & Hove


Dear Editor

The planned scheme for the Anston House site includes a series of towers around 12 storeys high (Argus 28 June). The image in the Argus is misleading, it shows a ground floor of so-called co-working space as well as a cafe. It does not show the 12 storeys of flats above, and this would then be 13 storeys in all.

First Base, the developer, claims it has carried out ‘a huge amount of public consultation which included included writing to 3,000 residents’. What was the result of these letters to local residents? I suspect that they would be more accurately described as ‘information’ rather than ‘consultation’. I cannot believe that this revealed a welcome to towers 13 storeys high. I cannot believe that it revealed the overshadowing of the narrowest part of the Preston Park with the Rotunda and the rose garden. Roses need sunshine to flower.

People enjoy sitting outside the Rotunda for much of the year, if this development goes ahead this would only be possible for a short time of the year, mostly in the shade.

The Preston & Patcham Society will be watching the Brighton Society’s accurate plans showing the area of overshadowing of the park at different times of the year.

Selma Montford : Hon Secretary
Preston & Patcham Society, 10 Clermont Road Brighton BN1 6SG

Anston House Consultation

From The Argus

Anston House.JPG-pwrt3

Residents will get a chance to have their say on the future of a building once dubbed Brighton and Hove’s ugliest building.

Developers First Base and The Hyde Group are launching a public consultation on the future use of Anston House in Preston Road, Brighton.

The eyesore has been unused for almost 30 years and has been subject to a number of failed planning applications – most recently a 15-storey development for 231 homes rejected in 2013 and a conversion to 44 flats granted last year.

The first of a number of consultation events on the site over the next eight months will be held on Thursday 16th July between 3pm and 7.30pm at the Jurys Inn Hotel in Stroudley Road, Brighton, with residents, stakeholders and businesses invited to attend.

An information newsletter has also been delivered to the more than 3,000 local residents living close to the site.

Renowned architects Conran and Partners, who are also working on plans for Saltdean Lido, have been appointed as the lead designer on the project set to convert the derelict office building into around 200 new apartments.

The proposed redevelopment of Anston House marks the first time that First Base and The Hyde Group have collaborated on a project and a first for London-based developers First Base outside of the capital.

David Rothwell, development manager for First Base said: “We feel this site offers a really exciting opportunity to develop a fitting development at an important gateway location in Brighton.

“We know there is a well established community in the local area and it is important that whatever we create fits in well.”

A project website has been established at firstbase-anstonhouse.com, and anyone wanting additional information should contact the project’s freephone information line on 0800 148 8911.