THE SACKVILLE HOTEL SITE, 189 KINGSWAY, HOVE – BH2012/00982
14 April 2012…..It is the 2nd application, almost exactly like the previous one, to be submitted in these first 3 and a bit months of 2012. The previous application, BH2012/00097, was refused on 9th March 2012 and here we are again, just a month later, with the application re-submitted.
What is different? THE NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK is what’s different! Plus an interesting little right-to-light detail. This post will concentrate on just these two areas of interest.
1. Within the Planning, Design, Access & Heritage Statement (documents online at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk) these 5 arguments have been invoked from the NPPF which must be taken into consideration and which replace previous Planning Act policies:
” Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainble development. (Paragraph 49).”
“Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development , is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people. (Paragraph 56).”
“In determining applications, great weight should be given to outstanding or innovative designs which help raise the standard of design more generally in the area.” (Paragraph 63).
“Local planning authorities should not refuse planning permission for buildings or infrastructure which promote high levels of sustainability because of concerns about incompatibility with an existing townscape, if those concerns have been mitigated by good design (unless the concern relates to a designated heritage asset and the impact would cause material harm to the asset or its setting which is not outweighed by the proposal’s economic, social and environmental benefits” (Paragraph 65).
“Local planning authorities should look for opportunities for new development within Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites and within the setting of heritage assets to enhance or better reveal their significance. Proposals that preserve those elements of the setting that make a positive contribution to or better reveal the significance of the asset should be treated favourably.” (Paragraph 137)
So what is to chuckle about…. This is a test of what kind of leverage the new NPPF gives developers. The word “sustainable” is up for debate and testing too. And the chuckle is black humour, no better. The Planning Committee were not prepared to contest the merits of the design for the Park House site on the 4th of April, and it is reasonable now in the light of the new NPPF for any developer to consider that if they get a CABE or Design Review Panel to back them that the Planning Committee will bow low before their judgments and rubber stamp any recommendation for approval. The day may even come when Planning Committees will be considered redundant and abolished. It’s possible.
Is it all gloom and doom. No. The new NPPF is Local Plan led and it or the Local Development Framework (when completed) will have more power than under the old system. Is it up to the job? Time will tell.
2. The ancient Right to Light argument is one that is little understood by residents & this application gives an opportunity to understand it. One reason for refusal last time was western elevation fenestration and overlooking. For this application, referring to that western wall facing 191 Kingsway, the Right to Light argument has been invoked following advice from Counsel. These come with the first building that went up, when considering two buildings, very roughly speaking. Redevelopment can sometimes extinguish those rights when the first one ‘goes’, but in this case, in spite of the Hotel’s collapse, Counsel for the developers advise that the Right to Light from the hotel remains. So even if a new window overlooks 191, the precedent right is with the developer and the Hotel windows that were there. That is it in a nutshell. And it will be for the BHCC legal department to agree or disagree. It is a fascinating subject which can be very tangled.
This is a first and only very cursory look at the newly registered application but these two things stood out as of interest. Tweakings from the previous application are no doubt in there, but that’s for another look…anon.