The entire length of the original Dubarry Perfume Co. factory facade with Hove Station pedestrian bridge to the right
This application seeks to put 9 flats, in a line, down the centre of the roof of the old Dubarry perfume factory – now the Hove Business Centre, with a Fonthill Road address in the planning register. This photo from 1931 does not show it, but there is already roof development at the far eastern end by Hove Park Villas. This application would tidy up the snaggle-toothed roofline if approved, but bring problems too.
Fonthill Road/Newtown Road
A short terrace of housing abutts the western end of the old Dubarry factory – now Hove Business Centre in Fonthill Road. These are in the foreground of the photo above. These dwellings would not see a set back flat above them. It would be quite close to the edge and increase an already overbearing cliff-face appearance at the end of their very tiny gardens and reduce sunlight further. Sunlight to gardens is blocked from the west and east and relies on a brief passage of the sun from the south for any sunlight.
Newtown Road housing already loses a lot of sunlight from the south, especially in winter due to the presence of the Dubarry factory. Is it reasonable to ask residents to increase the building height any further?
Dubarry north-side walkway
Obscured banding on sheets of toughened glass with gaps between them do not ‘feel’ safe or one bit nice for Newtown Road residents to look out onto at such close range. As you can see from the aerial photo, many of the Newtown Road houses have dormer windows in roof spaces where extra living space was created. This gives an eye-level view both ways to/from proposed Dubarry roof flats.
Dubarry southside terrace
Between the set-back flats and the trackside roof edge, developers propose to provide private patio/terracing. But with dividers up between the flats. Minimal privacy. The drawings show this behind the flouncy decorative rooftop area which gives the lie to how hidden these terraces would be along the length of the building. No drawings show edge treatment or safety height barriers either side of this decorative roof detail. The building and any new roof treatment is close to and visible from Hove Station platforms and the walkway over the tracks.
Brighton and Hove City Council are under immense pressure to find housing opportunities in every nook and cranny of the city. This is both a nook and a cranny. But it is also town cramming to put nine flats along the rooftop of this building which can only be managed with roof edge areas being used for access and amenity in a way that compromises amenity for any new residents – violating QD27 of the Local Plan. Looking at a planning application requires looking not just at impact on the area but also impact on potential residents.
One design change which has been suggested involves enclosing the proposed open walkway (making of it a hallway with no windows), making the flats single aspect from the south, but with added rooflights. It remains to be seen how the planning dept will deal with this suggestion which went into a response from the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum. It makes more sense, gets rid of overlooking, but loses the set-back value that mitigates overshadowing fears. It could still present an overbearing appearance.
The target date for a decision is 20th August 2014. Consultation responses can go in and be supplemented up to the Friday noon of the week before the application is scheduled to be determined at the Planning Committee. It is not currently scheduled and whilst the formal period of consultation has passed deadline, this is still a live application under consideration. Do have a look at documentation online via the Planning Register at http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk and see what you think.
The Dubarry Building in a wider context.
The Cliftonville Inn to the right; Conway Street Brighton & Hove Bus garage foregound; The Dubarry Bldg over the tracks
The Dubarry Perfumery Co. building, viewed from a tower block south, and to the west of it.
Not long into his term as MP for Hove, Mike Weatherley suddenly faced a battle with oesophagal cancer. It was not public knowledge; he kept it to himself; he soldiered on through what must have been a very stressful and demanding time as he also had to serve as Conservative MP for Hove (his choice). Those who have experienced life-limiting health threats themselves can only marvel at his bravery and determination to boss it out and work to be healthy again. But now he has taken the decision not to seek re-election at the 2015 General Election. At the end of his letter to the Prime Minister he makes, perhaps his first ever, public reference to that illness, and to recovery “two years ago” .
We at saveHOVE have one huge reason to be grateful to our MP.
Within just a few weeks of winning office, asked to sign our petition requesting Brighton & Hove City Council buy Connaught School, in Connaught Road, Hove from City College, he played a blinder.
For some time it had been known that City College would sell Connaught as it had plans for a huge redevelopment at Pelham Street. In anticipation of City College disposing of this 1890’s purpose built infant school turned adult education centre, Ninka Willcock, on behalf of the Brighton Society, worked for and gained a Grade 2 Listing for the building to safeguard it from demolition. We heard Tesco wanted it, that flats would be built there. Allsorts.
It was, however, known that, inexplicably, this building had not been allowed onto a shortlist of sites for a new primary school (but the scrub nursery area of Hove Park was!). BHCC struggled to find a way to increase primary school places, in part because Govt diktat stated that no new schools could be set up by local authorities, that all new schools have to be Academies/Free Schools. And this part of Hove had NOTHING. We had to act.
Just before the General Election, when a notice of closure, ahead of disposal, was posted outside the school, saveHOVE moved and began a petition to try to get it for primary school use again, and at the photo-call to advertise our new campaign, Action4Kids clmbed on board, and we thenceforth worked together to get it. Then came the election of Mike Weatherley.
Fortunately for us, the new MP had Robert Nemeth’s knowledge and interest in historic buildings on staff for advice. And he knew full well what his constituents wanted. But trickily, his fellow Conservatives formed the Brighton & Hove City Council Administration. So he called a meeting of Constituents, Councillors and Council officers to discuss it. Red-faced Cllr Brian Oxley sat muttering into his lap, shaking his head negatively. Cllr Jan Young (ward cllr) was incensed, enraged by obvious support in the room for the saveHOVE campaign. Other serving cllrs attending seemed shellshocked and uneasy. Labour’s Pat Hawkes, who had held Cllr Vanessa Brown’s brief in the previous Administration told residents she regretted that Connaught had been Listed. She was totally opposed to Connaught being bought, refurbished and brought back into use as an infant school. Why? Whatever; by the end of the meeting, the new MP was publicly announcing he would be signing the petition. And that was that. The Administration was not going to go against their brand new MP. We got the school as a satellite building for West Hove Infants and a full refurbishment of it too. Without what he did, we would not have got that school. Fact. Petition or no petition.
Today, 3rd July, 2014, at 12:38, this email arrived from MP Mike Weatherley, sent to those on his newsletter emailing list. It said the following:
“I write today as I wish to let all those who receive my regular news updates know that I will not be standing for re-election at the General Electionin 2015.
As you can imagine, this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. Below is my letter to the Prime Minister which he has received today. I wanted to let my constituents know this news before it is circulated to the press later today.
I look forward to continuing to represent the wonderful residents of Hove and Portslade until May next year.”
Mike Weatherley’s letter to the Prime Minister said the following:
“It is after profound consideration that I write to inform you that I will not be standing for re-election at the General Election in 2015.
I have nothing but huge admiration for the work of the Government over the past four years, including what has been done to get our economy back on track. In Hove and Portslade, this has translated to a drop in unemployment of a staggering 37.5%. I am strongly in favour too of our efforts to reform our membership of the EU but even more so of our pledge of a referendum in 2017 as I have mentioned to you directly on a number of occasions.
In terms of my own work, I have proudly served on the Administration and Justice Select Committees. I have campaigned relentlessly, with much success, to bring common sense to our laws on residential squatting. I have fought hard on a number of animal rights issues and firmly believe that the hunting ban should remain in place. I have also highlighted the dangers of nuclear power and, indeed, the benefits of solar and other renewables.
Over the past year, I have taken immense pride in serving as your Intellectual Property Adviser. I am sure that you will agree that we have made huge steps towards really getting politicians and industry talking – which is key to making the most of our country’s wealth of creative talent. It would be a privilege to continue offering my assistance in this regard.
It goes without saying that my years representing the wonderful people of Hove and Portslade have been one of the most fulfilling periods of my life which I will look back on with very fond memories. I have made so many friends over the years including so many of my loyal supporters both in and out of Brighton & Hove Conservatives. I cannot thank them enough.
Ultimately, beating cancer two years ago has led me to review what I want for the future. It has been the toughest decision of my life but I do feel that now is the time to move on.
MIKE WEATHERLEY MP
There have been very many visits to this website seeking information about the bilingual school’s latest application. Sadly, only material from the first application has been available and I hope people realised they were looking at old articles.
The 2nd application is minded to grant and goes to Planning Committee 2pm, Hove Town Hall, 4th of June 2014.
Instead of putting 630 kids and 50 teachers into 3 storeys, the new plan is to put them into 2 storeys. There is virtually no on-site play space so of course they quietly deny whilst salivating over the prospect of commandeering Hove Park itself – which will put immense noise and activity into the serene, badger and other wildlife friendly northernmost green and peaceful oasis part of it. The southern part of Hove Park is where all the playspace, cafe, tennis, etc. is concentrated. This school would urbanise a beautiful green space (and they will fell 10 trees needed for nesting sites to boot).
This proposed school would mean selling a section of Hove Park which has been a gardeners depot for some years and before that a plant nursery for Parks & Gardens which served both Brighton and Hove before unification. Planning consent alone will not allow a school to be built there, however
Because an indoor bowls facility was to be off-housed into the depot during the Karis King Alfred application of old (now defunct), BHCC organised removal of the park-use-only Covenant on that section of Hove Park. The bowls facility was never consented or built. And Hove Park ward cllr Vanessa Brown, as Cabinet Member for schools under the previous Conservative Administration rather foolishly agreed to her dept. putting the site on a list as somewhere to build a school. It was never designated for that use in any planning policy document however. And whilst saveHOVE asked if a planning brief could be prepared which would allow a proper consultation of the entire area of stakeholders to establish how best to use that site, the Green Administration only said ‘yes’ in answer to the public question, but did nothing to produce one.
This Free School application is a disaster for that corner of Hove, its road use, resident and park user amenity – for the sanctity and value of beautiful Hove Park. At a time of increasing population in the area, it is not right to reduce public green space and amenity. Indeed the need is to increase it. Having gardeners based in Hove Park has been good for maintenance of Hove parks and banishing them all to Stanmer Park is going to mean higher running costs for teams looking after Hove and Portslade (or not bothering to do it at all as budgets get further cut). The park serves residents from a wide section of Hove and is much needed and valued.
The list of consultees for this application is absurd (and laughable in a black sort of way). Addresses not in existence for 40 years have been lettered by the planning dept. Plus to the Co-op and businesses there which were long gone, and closed forever mid-March. It re-opened 3 days after the April 7th letters went out having been taken over by Waitrose. Did the Co-op pass on any of the consultee letters that may have been forwarded to their head office? Nothing to Coral’s Greyhound Stadium and nothing to Legal & General or other specific tenants of City Park (which has an employment protection Article 4 Direction on it to prevent it being converted to flats without a planning application under Eric Pickles’ little free-for-all measure to help developers). No letters to any of the Nevill Road, Park View Road, Orchard Road, Avenue, Gardens residents either. Nobody on the western side of the proposed school was formally consulted – only residents in Woodlands and Goldstone Crescent areas. But the western area is likely to be preferred by arriving and departing parents for the shelter of buildings and trees in howling winter gales and rain or snow. Parents won’t want to use Goldstone Crescent (a main road) or to walk across the exposed park area in bad weather or in winter afternoon darkness. So the habitat friendly park will probably get floodlights put into it. Heavily urbanising it. This application seeks to turn a park into a built environment with a huge amount of activity added to it.
Plus! Waitrose has a coffee shop. Parents and children will colonise that coming and going. Many of the supporters’ letters listed in the committee report are from long distances away – from people who will use that school. It wont be just for local children. This was made clear in the first application. Maybe Waitrose would be cool with that. Customers of course. But maybe other customers would be put off. The planning officers’ report to committee at 8.11 actually has the cheek to suggest parents can use Waitrose and Coral’s car parking area without having even had the courtesy of ever formally notifying Waitrose or Coral of the application!
The design of this new proposal is loud and cheap looking. And it will be cheaply built too because Gove is in a spot of bother about his free schools and the money being taken from other areas to pay for them. It looks rather like something from a nasty inner city council estate from the late 1950’s. And there is no play space because half the site is steeply sloped and the cost of digging it out and engineering support for the Droveway above it would be colossal. So they pretend it is a ‘habitat’ feature. And they will all pile into Hove Park instead for playtime. That serenely green and peaceful corner of Hove Park will be lost as that. One wonders how the City Park office workers will feel about 630 kids squealing, playing and chattering away in Spanish just below their windows as they try to work. Schools are very noisy places.
I could go on. But I am too demoralised to do so. I am sickened by this push to urbanise Hove Park by stuffing a huge, (unaccountable to BHCC) Central Government Free School into it, just as jamming that massive block of 71 flats beside the Park’s southern flank, in place of Park House, sickens. For how much longer will badgers remain around Hove Park. Or the red list birds we learned about in the Park House application. Who will pay for the much increased maintenance requirement of that park when 630 children and their parents and the 50 odd staff begin to use it? Will they turn lawns to mud playing football on it (as a friend’s boys did in their garden years ago)? Not Gove’s EFA I can assure you. Oh no. And yet BHCC will have zero authority over anything that school does. It should not be allowed to conduct any school activity within Hove Park. They won’t be paying for it. You, dear resident of Brighton & Hove, would pick up the tab for the consequences of their inevitable and intense park use and maintenance needs whilst parents from all over the surrounding counties bring their kids to this school.
Actually, there is one other small detail. The report to committee baldly states that the school will harm the setting of the 5-times over Listed Engineerium, but says it’s OK to do that. And there is no Conservation Area application for this proposal. And there should be, in spite of the CA app being approved last time seeking demolition of existing buildings on site. The depot sits within the Engineerium Conservation Area boundary and whatever is built (if anything) in that area, should need specific Conservation Area consent.