Tag Archives: First Base

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.”

 

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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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