THE PARK HOUSE DECISION
The planning application to demolish & insult the Park House site was agreed.
4 April 2012….Old Shoreham Road resident Duncan Barker spoke at Planning today, on behalf of objectors against this third application from Hyde Housing. And Conservative Cllr for Hove Park Ward, Vanessa Brown, spoke as ward councillor. Both did very useful speeches picking up much that needed to be closely queried.
Cllr Brown concentrated very well on laying out the density anomalies and issues. Dr. Barker drew attention to the fact that triple glazing is to be used against Old Shoreham Road noise yet people have balconies & patios along Old Shoreham Road which will be unuseable due to the noise and pollution.
Old Shoreham Road residents report disappointment with attempts to get help from the 3 Green Goldsmid Councillors. A worthless meeting with one, an email brush off from another. Nothing from the 3rd ahead of this decision, so they had made themselves unavailable to speak on behalf of affected residents.
A messy set of questions from Councillors on the committee to the speakers, to officers, to the applicants did not seem to bring much further information forward to help save Park House. Just regrets at size and density and design and voting for it anyway. And, it seems, agreement on the size of the footprint by officers at a very early stage in the process, blocking cllrs powers at committee to some extent.
When Cllr Denise Cobb questioned whether Hove Park was “at capacity use”, officers dithered about and said no. This is very curious because for the previous applications an internal consultation response sitting in the case file directly stated that Hove Park use was at capacity. It serves a whole city after all and not just those living beside it. Tennis, bowls, a childrens recently tooled up play space, etc. And more use it now than ever.
Wildlife did not figure significantly with the councillors and this can be said because of the vote. A straight no should have come from the Labour cllrs expressing concern for badgers. No proofs they would survive here was seriously sought. The late list failed to record the saveHOVE objection about access to the patios by badgers and concern for how potential residents would behave towards them.
The vote: 4 against, 2 abstentions and the 6 voted for it. Consent granted. They still need a licence from Natural England concerning the on-site badgers and their future which must not be left to chance by residents.
Although the Planning Committee gave consent, the developers still have hoops to jump through. As well as a Natural England licence, there are some 25 Conditions attached to consent and the s106 agreement must be signed. Hyde might consider selling the site with planning consent; but as Housing Associations are subsidised by central government, they have loadsamoney to do what they like, so it is doubtful they will do so.
The problem ahead for local residents will be a high level of activity of this site, both coming and going by car and in the parks and on the site itself. For the city, the addition of a major eyesore between the parks and for wildlife: certain loss of habitat.
Elderly or disabled people could have been housed here with the guarantee of a lot less activity and car use in and out of the site. Putting sheltered housing there would yield just as much for the developers whilst housing a much less active set of people who are just as much in need of housing as the young and able bodied, the alcoholics and the drugs addicts who are more eligible for housing here than the elderly or disabled will be.
The sheer size and intrusive quality of this truly shaming and disgusting example of building design (does not merit the word architecture) was not lost on councillors who wondered if the developer really needed to make it like this. Oh, yes and we think it is the right thing….blah, blah was the Hyde team response. It was grounds for refusal and 6 councillors failed to use it.
This is a tragic outcome. The design is horrific. The only grounds for refusal allowed by the Planning Inspector was design and the Committee let the side down by shrugging and going oh, well, they’ll only come back, might as well……
Two Greens voted against, Two Tories voted against. That was all. Two Labour cllrs abstained. The rest voted for it. Those prepared to stand up for the principle and vote against were Cllrs Hawtree, Summers, Theobald and Cobb.
Please note: if your intention now is to sell up and escape before demolition and building work begins, and your quality of life ends, you are legally required declare this consent to anyone seeking to buy your home or face legal action afterwards.
The meeting was webcast live from the council website. It will be reviewed and archived within a day or two for repeat viewing. After a s106 agreement revision was heard for another application, Park House was up next…so about 2:30 to 4pm within the running order.