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MEDINA HOUSE – a first image is released of the proposed redevelopment

01372_pilbrow_medinahouse_v6_2016-09-13_full_c-2

This Pilbrow CGI shows how the newbuild ‘ghost’ reinterpretation of Medina House has the potential to visually reintegrate Marrocco next door back into the Esplanade frontage by way of its past/present linking position and appearance.

16.9.16…..The King Alfred ballroom hosted a formal public consultation Exhibition of plans on Thursday, September 15th and again on Saturday, September 17th ahead of finalising the scheme for a planning application.  Consultation forms were available and people were encouraged to use them to provide their views and suggestions.  The public feedback will be collated and put into a document for inclusion as part of the set of documents for the planning application.  
Medina House design could still change ahead of planning application submission. Have your say 17.9.16!

My photo of the model does not clearly show the shuttered windows on the Sussex Rd elevation, alas – apols for that. Please note design changes are still possible ahead of the final submission of a planning application

DESIGN CHANGES

The designers of the Medina House proposal are Stuart  Westwater and Keb Garavito-Bruhn of the architecture firm Pilbrow and Partners working to a brief from Polly Samson.
In the wake of August consultation meetings provided to small groups of people, the designers have reduced the height by a metre from 3.7m higher than existing to 2.7m.  Recessed dormer windows were also removed from the roof leaving just those visible here.  The apex of the roof was shaved flat (part of height reduction!!) and two roof lights added to it.  Extra solar panels could also be added along that line in future but are not included now.  Solar panels ARE however in the plans along the back wall area over the winter garden.  There is a tree proposed for the yard.  Lou Stack tells me a tree was removed from the rear of a Victoria Terrace address awhile back that “was the southernmost tree in England”.  If that was right, then a tree in this sheltered spot would take that title. A tree would also soften the appearance of the brickwork if it goes above the wall or oversails it a bit.
Privacy was designed in from the off –  by putting the windows higher up from the pavement, but inside too, there will be deep shelves putting space between the actual glass and interior area. On the western elevation, towards the back there are two lines of narrow, permanent shutters along with two wider actual windows with openable shutters (not sure if that is a change or was there before).
Those attending Thursday’s exhibition date were largely pleased and even keen.  Criticisms included “bland”, “industrial looking” and “no privacy with queues of people in front of it waiting to buy ice cream from Marrocco”.  The terracotta swag at the top of the existing sea-facing wall of Medina House was referred to as a detail wanted for the new frontage.  I suggested maybe getting a stonemason to carve something into the brick. A further comment behind the Argus article showing the top image here (provided by Pilbrow), objected, saying ” it looks like a mosque”!!!   
The Planning Application is due to be submitted by the end of September, 2016.  The architects have had pre-application meetings with both officers and the Planning Committee (most of whom turned up for it).  Feedback to them was apparently pretty minimal.

Medina House Building Condition

Medina House was built with “red rubber” bricks (a term, no actual rubber in them) and its’ four outside walls are load-bearing.  By 1923 the cheap and porous bricks were already in poor condition, which is WHY the surface was rendered.  That render is not original and was put there to keep the building going in 1923.  They only lasted 30 years before needing that!  And 1923 was 93 years ago.  Pilbrow’s architects tell me that the bricks have gone “powdery” in parts of the eastern elevation.  This detail supports their survey and contention that the building is beyond economic recovery and conversion. 
Photos in exhibition flats this week showed some of the totally burnt out and blackened interior which two arsons inflicted.  What, in truth, is there left to keep for any regeneration project?  There ARE people who insist it can still be saved.  So they need to provide clear and credibl evidence for their planning responses.
There are cost implications for any project here which need to be soberly considered in working out just how far past recovery Medina really is.  It is known from Land Registry that Polly Samson paid OVER £1m to Sirus Taghan to acquire the site.  It is chokemaking to think of him getting a penny more than he originally paid for the privilege of irresponsible ownership and negligence over 17 years – just £300,000 in 1998.  Clearance, asbestos removal, securing the site, ground investigations (for a foundation), architects and PR firm fees, the planning application prep and council fee….how much more has been invested to this stage over the £1m plus  paid for Medina House?
Only the back wall area with the Royal Doulton tiles still attached will be retained, for incorporation into the newbuild winter garden at the back of the courtyard.  It has to be kept in order to keep the tiles.  It means that the eastern elevation blue tiles will be lost as they cannot be removed from the brick wall without being lost.

A polished halo moment!  We stopped Sirus Taghan building any of THESE!

Our achievement: none of Taghan's horror towers got planning consent!

Our achievement: none of Taghan’s horror towers got planning consent!

I would like to put something to everyone here:  David Gilmour is concerned about the heritage lamps along the Esplanade from The Meeting House cafe to Hove Lagoon.  BHCC have put temporary heads on some and say there is a cost implication keeping them there.  Mr. Gilmour would like to see a campaign to get this sorted; plus, what do others think of the light-colour change from warm to cold white?  And is it even an option to seek a change on that front?  Email saveHOVE with your thoughts please.  According to one of the Pilbrow architects working on Medina, other than the new and much harsher light colour IS possible these days.  The council are poor and getting poorer so any serious campaign would need to involve fundraising.
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Medina House – Our 2nd August meeting with the Project Team

5.9.16…..In the wake of saveHOVE’s post upon first learning of redevelopment plans, we had a meeting with the architects at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Palmeira Square on August 2nd. 
Six of us met with Keb Garavito-Bruhn from Pilbrow & Partners – the architects engaged by Polly Samson – and others from the project team putting this newbuild scheme into planning form.  Only six could be accommodated and they were:  Ruth and Barbara from Benham Court, David from Bath Court, retired architect John Small, terracotta specialist Amy Frankie Smith and Valerie.  David’s ground floor flat is at the back of Bath, facing Sussex Road and Barbara’s in Benham is at current Medina House roof height.  They were chosen because height had to be discussed and they were in a position to offer informed views on that as closely affected.
It was stressed to the architects that they needed to meet especially with Victoria Cottages and Sussex Road residents and they said letters had gone out to them.  Unfortunately only daytime meetings were offered and this has caused a certain amount of bad feeling with residents who missed out.  But the public exhibition at King Alfred, from 4-8pm on the Thursday, 15th and again from 10-2pm on Saturday, 17th ahead of a planning application means they are not being bypassed.

The Royal Doulton Tiles

It was pleasing to learn that Amy’s Fellowship paper on the Medina House bespoke Royal Doulton tiles had been read by the architects.  Indeed, they will remain in touch with her as their project progresses.  The proposal includes retention of the remaining tiles on the back wall area.

Building Condition 

There is a limit to how much a building can take and still remain viable for restoration/re-use.  Has that limit been reached?  This is a key question which the planning application will have to answer.  Loss of the existing Medina House will inevitably be resisted, as loss of the West Pier is STILL resisted, even now!

Ruth and Valerie wanted to see both the 2012 Survey of Medina House and the Planning Brief we worked so hard to achieve addressed at this meeting.
They have of course done a new survey.  Keb Garavito-Bruhn, presenting to us, said that the steel joist claims from the 2012 survey were faulty and that structural issues with the outside (retaining) walls included a sunken area a metre deep and one wall with a blown out area.  It is their view that the building cannot be converted/saved.  The building has suffered 18 years of abuse, including two arsons since 2012, the last of which saw roof trusses removed to facilitate a roof collapse (which did not happen).

The Proposal

Demolition, with the ghost of Medina House made solid is what is proposed, effectively.  It is clear Polly Samson (and husband David)  gave the architects this brief.  And a very poetic rebirth is what is proposed.  Lazarus, the phoenix arisen – call it what you like – that is what we looked at.
Newbuilds which incorporate material from demolished sites is not a new thing, and when done well, keep the spirit of the old building alive.  But in this case, the entire shape and detailing of Medina House is repeated, but clad in ‘chalk’ coloured brick.  The clay bricks are narrow and textured.  The Magistrates Court in Lansdowne Road uses it on an end wall.  At the back of the filled-in pool area, the tiling is to be kept on that back wall within a glass-fronted ‘winter garden’.
The design has some elegance in spite of Pilbrow’s website showing their work to be about big, muscular, knuckle-duster blocks and towers.  It is clear the Gilmours had a lot of input into this design – because it is quiet.  No muscular swagger or screaming look-at-me ugliness.  It is very likeable.

Design issues

HEIGHT:  The newbuild ‘Medina House’ was proposed to us to be 3.7 metres higher than at present. This is partly because of ground conditions so close to the sea and need to be flood free but also because of need to put windows higher up for privacy.  So the ground floor inside would be raised up a bit.  Nevertheless height is a contentious issue.
Strong representations were made at our meeting about this increase and it remains to be seen whether the height will come down.  David and Barbara have overshadowing and views issues of some severity.  Valerie went to bat for the tiny Victoria Cottages and Sussex Road homes and gardens directly behind the back wall.  They are not well served with light now and planning officers have in the past indicated to Valerie that nothing higher than the present building could replace Medina House.  We made it clear this was a non-negotiable issue for us.  And it affects the Bath Court flats facing Sussex Road too.
ROOFSPACES:  Quite a lot is expected of the newbuild, including useable rooms in the roofspace and the recessed dormer windows, along with big chimneys, are not beautiful.  One of the features of the existing Medina House which gives it its unique quality and presence is its big, deep, unbroken roof.  It was stressed that the house needed to accommodate extended family, blah, blah.  What matters in planning terms, however, is how the building fits into the Cliftonville Conservation Area, the townscape, how it impacts on neighbours, and its long-term value, use and convertibility (to other uses than as a single dwelling), etc.
We do not forget that Polly was once said to have thought a spa on this site would be good….and many would STILL like this to be what is done with Medina House.
PARKING:  There are parking spaces adjacent to Medina House in Sussex Road and there has been some discussion about trying to get them moved.  It is unlikely that the applicants will pursue this.
MATERIALS:  John Small asked about the bricks for cladding the newbuild.  They are clay bricks, narrow and textured.  Described as white, they are in fact chalk white which is creamy.  Is this an appropriate material to use on this site?  It is a consideration.  A building that is too ‘muscular’ on this site could be overbearingly Grand.  Materials contribute to the overall impression in this regard – enhancing or diminishing how imposing it would be. Indeed, Amy wondered what red brick would be like….

The Public Exhibition of Plans

 King Alfred ballroom.

 Thursday, September 15th from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday, September 17th from 10am to 2pm

Members of the project team will be on hand to discuss the scheme and how it has changed since we met with them on 2nd August.
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By Hove Station: Update to 17 storeys of unsuitable development proposed for Ellen Street

BH2016/02663

16.9.16 …..Slight change to title for this already published post, with material added – photos of the site area and needed comment on the nearly invisible Ethel Street traders hidden away behind Goldstone Villas one way and a bank of parked cars and trees the other.

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ETHEL STREET

sept-matsim-1-3-ellen-st-028Whilst taking these pictures, I paid a visit to the single-storey Ethel Street traders – mostly in garages or converted garage spaces, although the northern end is development from not long ago. This little hive of activity has been overlooked as it has quietly grown there.  It has charm that needs investment on its access path to improve amenity. Today I spoke with the case officer, Kate Brocklebank, who has been to the site to take her own photos for the file and she noticed this tucked-away line of businesses for herself.  I identified the four to her that I spoke with who she can now add to the register.  Some, however, have Goldstone Villas addresses.  There is a 96 Goldstone Villas garage here as well as a 96 Ethel Street business.  It would be sensible to detach these legally from Goldstone Villas and give them Ethel Street addresses and wider use-class designation to help traders and regularise things. Whatever, their presence is valuable and not to be overlooked when it comes to assessing the impact of the proposals.  Their premises are all single aspect – facing west.  They are already in considerable shade (in a charming way, actually), but losing skylight would impact them terrifically.

Daylight

The variety of work going on is magic.  A quite smart design & print firm is at one end, an ornate plaster moulding studio sits by a bicycle repair shop, a motor garage, etc.  They MUST be protected and not lose the daylight to their single aspect entry areas.  The Daylight Assessment in this application needs to be given serious attention by everyone there and in the low-rise flats between Livingstone House and Goldstone House (Two 10 storey towers to the south).
The entire Clarendon & Ellen Estate could lose its access/egress privacy on the Ellen Street side if this application is consented.  But residents lettered have ignored the application!!!
The stretch of Ethel Street from Ellen up to Conway has the potential to become a seriously amazing oasis with small traders and a treed ambience conducive to just hanging out.  The application proposes a retail component facing these traders.  But losing the London Plane trees put there about 10 years ago by the council when seeking to discourage flytipping in the area beside the shed.  The application seeks their removal and building right up to the pavement edge (natch).  Why is this totally unacceptable, trees or no trees?

The Brighton & Hove Bus Company

The garages and offices occupy most of the north side of Conway Street. The 2012 plans to relocate to Hollingbury fell through – promoted by Roger French, the plans died when he retired.  THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR THEM TO LEAVE.  This creates serious issues for the proposed redevelopment and for Ethel Street.  For many, many years the residents of Livingstone House have had their nights and air quality ruined by the buses parking the length of Ethel Street, often with engines left running and spewing exhaust.  The print studio at 96 Ethel Street suffers too now.  Often there very late into the evening they have both that and anti-social behaviour (drug dealing) to put up with outside their door.
But how would prospective residents of this proposed mega-tower of 188 flats cope with the fumes and running motor noise?  And the proposed retailer?  It would kill trade if it involved food.  Where are the letters from Livingstone House residents on this?  The planning office need to be informed of things like this.
One day, it would be nice to have the section of Ethel Street from Ellen up to Conway become part of a hospitable and pedestrianised little oasis just by the steps down from Hove Station.  Could be really cool.  The trees are already there.  All that’s needed is to move the buses and design something more appropriate for the shed site than is currently planned.  Do you agree?  Please put in a consultation response to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk (but DO have a quick look at material in links below).
22.8.16…..The formal deadline for responses to this application is just a few days away (26th August) but it is unlikely to be decided for a long while after that so DO look at the Planning Statement and the Design & Access Statement first to get to grips with what is offered.  Email your view of it all to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Clip of Planning Register entry

A Clip of Planning Register entry

An awful lot of activity is proposed for this site.  Can Hove Station handle another 200 or so commuters each morning – the flats are aimed squarely at incomers needing easy commuter access.  What about schools and other infrastructure.  What is available locally that they could plug into?
Consultee responses are now posted online with application documents.  There are already a couple of notable ones.  A huge sum is recommended be demanded towards education for that part of the Section 106 obligation.  And the comment from Environmental Health gives this application a stinging thumbs down.  You have to read it.  She recommends Refusal.
Perhaps the biggest issue for existing residents is access from the surrounding streets.  Vehicle access is ONLY from Fonthill Road to the north or from Ethel Street or between Conway Court and Clarendon House along Clarendon Road to the south.  When the 1960’s demolitions occurred, many little linking streets were abolished to make way for the five 10-storey blocks and commercial sheds behind them.  It thoughtlessly and effectively made of the semi-industrial area something of an island site.  This is a major problem for redevelopment again now.  Look carefully at the Transport Statement.  Read the Transport Statement 1 and Transport Statement 2 for claims and have your say!
What is proposed would replace just the single shed area (containing 3 tenants) in front of the bus station and beside its bus park by the Agora – not a big space at all.  But note from this photo the impact on Ethel Street businesses and Goldstone Villas housing that a tall building would have.  This sunlight would become deep shade.  To the north there is just the station and bus depot to lose sunlight, but Clifton Court just to the top of the photo, opposite the pub, could also be affected.  Certainly, all these buildings you see here would be dwarfed.  Read the daylight assessment claims.  Do you agree?  Can you prove otherwise?
Ellen Street shed looking towards backs of Goldstone Villas buildings

Ellen Street shed looking towards backs of Goldstone Villas buildings

Residents of Goldstone House could expect to see some light loss to the bedrooms facing north.  Residents of Livingstone House will see some light loss to kitchens, located on the north side, facing north, especially during summer evenings as the sun sets. The scale of how huge this is can be seen in this section drawing looking east from Fonthill Road.  Bus Station to the left and a terraced house in Clarendon Road to the right.
Elevation drawing from the application documents showing from Conway bus garage over to Clarendon terrace house

Elevation drawing from the application documents showing from Conway bus garage over to Clarendon terrace house

So.  188 flats, offices, a little retail.  It’s an awful lot for this tiny site, but the incentive for the council to agree comes from the City Plan Pt 1 which forces this area (up to Old Shoreham Road) to allow hundreds of dwellings to be put there (by order of Planning Inspectors).  Tall building guidance advises mixed use for tall buildings that puts commercial activity at ground level, with housing above.  The small amount of retail is sited on the Ethel Street frontage facing the trees you can see in the photo.  Hidden away.
The design is like a series of angular silos all mooshed up together in one huge unbroken mass, made to look more broken up, with varying height areas, more ‘organically’ like a normal townscape where things get built over long periods of time, the whole enclosing its ‘garden’ in the middle.

Ellen St Hove Station BH2016_02663 CGI view west from Ethel St Ellen St Hove Station BH2016_02663 lightwell amenity space

The space in the middle of the development is little more than a light well, given the heights around it.  As a retired planner emailing saveHOVE  says, “It is hard to imagine anything growing down in that hole”.  It would be in total shade at all times.  Amenity for residents would not be good.  How wide is it?  Can’t be more than 5 metres by about 15 – not a lot of outdoor space for 188 flats.  Look in the documents for the actual size.
A scaled down version of this development might be acceptable but this is surely still a greedy overdevelopment from MATSIM.  Their 2012 plans for a wider area were deemed so unacceptable by planners during pre-planning advice meetings that NO application ever appeared.  Once again, they are using Nick Lomax from Lomax, Cassidy, Edwards as their architect.
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Texaco/Alibi application BH2016/02756 – Consultation Response issues

Time to get to grips with the Texaco/Alibi Planning Application !
Architect's context drawing of proposal looking east along Kingsway

Architect’s context drawing of proposal looking east along Kingsway

21.8.16….Some months after the exhibition at the Princes Marine Hotel, comes the inevitable planning application with the same disappointingly harsh, angular, tall-building design (a few changes) – it’s clone-town glass and brick stuff you have seen everywhere from ads for Chelsea Basin flats to pretty much everywhere else, including, alas, now ALSO for the new Hove Station area planning application (1-3 Ellen Street, BH2016/02663) which seeks redevelopment of the semi-industrial shed site fronting Ellen, Conway, Ethel Streets just behind Goldstone Villas.  We need to demand better from architects.  Nick Lomax from Lomax, Cassidy, Edwards has designed both schemes.

Scheme Content

The Lomax design for Rocco Homes proposes  59 flats and a Co-op convenience store for the Alibi pub at 22 Victoria Terrace and adjoining former Texaco Petrol Station on Kingsway.   It swamps the eye with its composition of sharply angled and merged silos of varying heights.  Harsh. Hard.  This newbuild people-container would provide 55 flats. The converted upper floors of the Alibi provide another 4 flats, giving a total of 105 bedrooms. All the flats are proposed to be market – no social rented or part buy/part rent.  The ground floor of the Alibi remains  commercial with the ground floor of the tower housing the Co-op.
There is a potential problem for the ground floor use of the Alibi if it remains as a pub or café.  At night people outside smoking, etc. will be a noise issue for residents in the flats directly overlooking the area between them.  The residents would have noise abatement rights which could impact on the Alibi.
Texaco_Alibi proposed sq Fig 7 Planning Statement

Fig. 7 in the Planning Statement

The Co-op convenience store is proposed to open seven days a week, from 7am-11pm.  Deliveries to it are proposed to be from the Kingsway frontage.  How will all this impact A259 traffic flow?  A build-out full of bike racks is visible in one drawing that would squeeze the two lanes down to one at this point.  Surely not wise.
Parking?  Read the Transport Statement (link below).  BHCC advice to lose the car lift and reduce provision has led to offering just 17 carpark spaces – 8 between the Alibi and the Coop for customers (of both?) and 9 for residents adjacent to the Bath Court/St. Aubyns Mansions carpark.  A whopping 76 cycle spaces are offered – 34 at ground level and 42 in the basement.  You HAVE to read the Transport Statement, look at their figures and claims of plenty of capacity to understand this and to think how you can demonstrate it is wrong.  For starters, do you have to park north of Kingsway due to lack of spaces outside your own Esplanade colony home?  TELL THE COUNCIL IN YOUR OBJECTION.  PROVIDE STREET PARKING PHOTOS RELEVANT TO YOURSELF.
Fig. 4 from the Planning Statement showing panoramic view round St. Aubyns western corner to St. Aubyns Gardens

Fig. 4 from the Planning Statement showing panoramic view round St. Aubyns western corner to St. Aubyns Gardens – dead opposite the Texaco site

The towers proposed are so out of place opposite the Listed St. Aubyns corner, St. Aubyns Gardens and locally listed Alibi Pub (originally hotel) which together brought lyrical rounded mid-Victorian era grandeur to that part of Hove and horizontality of line.  The corner treatment shrieks vertically from behind its generic, off-the-peg – template – style references in stark contrast with the quietly purring Kingsway grandeur around Victoria Terrace and the entrance to St. Aubyns dead opposite.  All entreaties at the exhibition to put in some curves have been studiously ignored.
Much is made of the Alibi Pub within the application paperwork.  It is a key reference point, written about reverently and given respect and acknowledgment…..verbally.  But not by providing a neighbourly scheme to put beside it that respects the two Conservation Areas involved:  Old Hove north of the Kingsway and Cliftonville from the Alibi westwards.  The Alibi is inside the Cliftonville CA whilst the Texaco site is not in any CA.

Serious Application Registration issues

The application should have been registered as ‘Cliftonville CA (the locally listed heritage asset, the Alibi, in within it), adjacent Cliftonville , adjoining Old Hove ’ in recognition of relationship to TWO Conservation area involvements and not just Old Hove. This may change as an email has brought this to the attention of the planning officer for the application, Kate Brocklebank (who also assisted the applicants with considerable pre-planning advice), copied to Development Control Manager, Jeanette Walsh.  Does it need to be re-registered?  The applicants documents recognise it clearly, but council officers registering the application did not.
Clip from BHCC Cliftonville Conservation Area Map

Clip from BHCC Cliftonville Conservation Area Map

Neighbour Consultation letters from BHCC went to St. Aubyns, Seafield Road, Medina Villas, Osborne Villas ACROSS the 4-lane Kingsway but BHCC failed to send ANY to the nearby Sussex Road, Victoria cottages area that will be visually swamped by the looming towers with consequent light loss to the backs of Victoria Terrace, 1-4 Sussex Road and rear Bath Court flats.  None went to Bath Court residents whose car park would also be at some risk of being colonised by desperate new residents and Alibi/Co-op customers seeking parking and who will have party wall issues to deal with in view of the fact the development goes right up to their boundary and garage walls.  All they got was a site notice.  The ward councillors should intervene. 
The council is not understanding that the residential area south of the Kingsway is a kind of island site below that dangerous-for-pedestrians, windswept, 4 lanes of A259 that is the Kingsway.  An intimately-scaled colony, like a village, even with its Esplanade Bath, Benham and Spa towers.  Flag Court is the other side of the Courtneys so it is really the bit between St. Aubyns South and Medina Terrace with Victoria Terrace edging it along the Kingsway that makes up this cosy ‘island’ enclave. 

What you are really up against now

The planning application form and Transport  Statement provide dates of pre-app visits with the planning officer and evidence of highways department advice.  The Heritage Statement further indicates consultation with member of the planning committee and Design South East to solicit feedback ahead of finalising their application.  Residents need to be aware that changes were made in the wake of all this and an opinion from the Design Panel which they hope stitches in place everything needed to get consent.  This means objectors have to have a VERY good set of reasons for objecting to get this refused, assuming that all advice provided by officers was taken.  And evidence.

Objectors are also up against the City Plan, Pt 1 and its imposed high target for achieving new units of housing in the city (at the insistence of Planning Inspectors).  The fact it is market housing without one single unit of social rented housing or intermediate (shared ownership) is not helpful to the city and perhaps the deal is they pay a huge sum in compensation through a s106 obligation.  Or not.  Does BHCC plan to purchase any units off-plan?  For Council Housing use?  It is a cheap way of increasing stock, though if they DO take units, they would likely go to its leasehold Seaside Homes portfolio (or be bought by Seaside?).

Tasks for Objectors

The Planning Statement is absolutely Required Reading as a starting point to get to grips with what the claims are, what the planning constraints are and where resident wriggle room is for getting this application substantially modified or refused.
After the Planning Statement, it is the Design & Access Statement that MUST be gone through – full of useful illustrations too I might add.
The Transport Statement should be waded through by Esplanade residents and countering evidence provided to discredit its various claims. I would dispute the fact that its analysis of capacity and parking locally using street parking from BOTH sides of the Kingsway is valid.  Esplanade residents are so lacking in adequate parking provision NOW that some are forced to park north of the 4-lane Kingsway.  Residents who do not have Spa Court/Benham Court, Bath Court/St Aubyns Mansions carpark use do NOT have enough parking outside their own homes because there isn’t enough.  Did the Transport Statement take account of Marrocco diners’ use of parking spaces?  It is wrong to say that parking availability up St. Aubyns, up Medina Villas, up Seafield or Osborne  makes it OK to add up to 50 flats’s worth of competitive new parking demand on the area south of Kingsway.  Look at the police accident record provided too.
Residents of Sussex Road, Victoria Terrace are affected by sunlight and overshadowing issues and should look very carefully at the Daylight and Sunlight Study which was not written for your benefit!  Your photos from inside your window areas should go with your consultation response letters to demonstrate your likely loss.
Pre-planning advice from BHCC was to cut parking provision and to ditch the lift access basement parking due to potential street queuing issues (see that highways opinion reproduced in the Transport Statement).  A positive is advice to provide a car club parking bay on the street that would allow all residents the option to use that service instead of owning a car of their own.  This is an increasingly practical and welcomed option for people who do not do a lot of driving but cannot give it up.
Then look at anything else if need be or wanting to tackle in more depth.  Do the CGI images lie?  They usually do.
Do not rush to put your application response in.  This is your sole opportunity to influence and get changes.  Make sure of your facts and use planning.applications@brighton-hove.gov.uk to email your response, including photos taken to demonstrate parking issues, to demonstrate light and sunlight loss to rooms, to demonstrate overshadowing, overlooking, and to show the ways in which looming overdevelopment on the Texaco site will negatively impact or swamp homes nearby.  The formal time for responding ends 30th August.   But keep sending in new material to add to existing consultation emails/letters.  No decision or referral to the Planning Committee will occur until maybe October – the estimated decision date given online.  Ensure the subject line of your email gives the planning number, address,  and whether you Object/support.  Put Kate Brocklebank, the planning officer, in the cc field for insurance!
Finally.  How much development CAN that site take in your view?  Suggest.  How much of a problem is the tidal ground flooding that developers should be more careful of in constructing basement areas.  GIVE your local knowledge!
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Texaco site adjacent to King Alfred: A planning application has been submitted

28.7.16…..It’s all go down the Esplanade, now…innit.  At the same time as plans for redevelopment of the Medina House site have surfaced, so the Texaco site has now moved along since the public exhibition that so dismayed folk to now become a submitted, but as yet unregistered, planning application.  Lou Stack spotted it online.  But, there is nothing to look at or comment on until it is registered and neighbour consultation letters are sent out.  Just be aware of it and keep an eye out.  We will have to note carefully who is and is not included by BHCC in the neighbour lettering.

FATAL FLAW ALERT

I would expect ALL of St. Aubyns Mansions, most of Bath Court, King Alfred tenants, Esplanade residents and Medina Terrace residents to receive neighbour consultation letters from BHCC.  And for a serious reason.
At the exhibition of the plans, architect Nick Lomax was asked about just how the proposed Co-op retail unit would be supplied.  Where would their delivery point be.  It seemed obvious that it should be in the driveway between the Alibi Pub and the Co-op, but apparently “they don’t want that”.  Consult and ignore is the norm so the worry is that the plan then is the plan NOW.  A ten-ton truck accessing via Medina Terrace, Kings Esplanade and parking in St. Aubyns South.  That is a major no-no.  A huge issue if they try to pursue it.  But, hey, maybe they listened at the exhibition and the application will surprise us with a sensible solution.
Here are the details from the online planning register.  It has been given a planning number which you can use to find it:  BH2016/02756
 Address
The former Texaco garage site, Kingsway
Hove, Brighton & Hove
BN3 2WB
Description:
Proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the former Texaco garage and shop to provide 55 No. residential apartments and 375 sq.m of retail floorspace (A1 Use Class) in a new building of between 2 and 9 storeys together with associated parking and landscaping; flexible use of the ground floor of the former Alibi Public House (A1, A4 Use Classes) and conversion of the first, second and third floors to provide 4 No dwellings.

The Alibi Pub (former Hotel)

Please note that the area including King Alfred, the former Texaco Station and St. Aubyns Mansions and Bath Court is EXCLUDED from Conservation Area Status.  Please also note that the Cliftonville CA begins with and includes the Alibi Pub, moving east and north up to Holy Trinity Church in Blatchington Road.  This gives the application a problem.  A single site is created by the application, part of which is in a Conservation Area. In addition, the Alibi Pub, its drive and derelict Coach House to the rear have added Conservation protectionWhilst not Listed Buildings, they ARE on the Local List of Heritage Assets (and this link takes you to its dedicated page).   This is a serious consideration for the application as the proposal will demolish the derelict Coach House (erasing that bit of local history) and there is no guarantee of the Alibi Pub retaining much of its existing identity otherwise.
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