26 May 2013…..It is a good 14 years or so since a public meeting was last held at Hove Town Hall to discuss redevelopment at King Alfred. Citigrove came and went. Karis came and went. And here we are again in the wake of the global financial implosion with a whole slew of competitors all wanting to redevelop the King Alfred site – or, in the case of the ice skaters, to have use of the scrub area to the side of it for the 4-6 years it will take for a redevelopment to begin.
To meet this return of developer interest Brighton & Hove City Council set up another King Alfred Project Board last year which only meets in closed session with officers and Tony Mernagh (who totally supported the Karis bid before, so….). Councillors on the Board are Andrew Wealls, Warren Morgan and Chairing is Geoffrey Bowden. When the last Board was assembled at the start of the decade, many of its meetings were held in public at Hove Town Hall. Not this time. It will be putting together a specification to take to Policy and Resources (possibly by July) ahead of advertising a competition tender for the role of preferred developer…just as before.
Sadly, also just as before it is expected that they will again seek a free sports centre plus housing the developer can put on the site to cover costs and make a profit. This was the undoing of the previous two developers. But BHCC are determined to use the King Alfred site as a way of providing needed housing. This is not what saveHOVE, its associates and supporters believe should go there. Indeed who would it house. Truth is it would go to second homers and wealthy retirees mostly like a lot of the housing around that area (and at the Marina).
The meeting on Friday the 24th of May 2013 was filmed and the MP will be making his video of the event available to everyone on his list. When it comes to saveHOVE it will be forwarded (a link no doubt) to associates and supporters and a link will go onto this website. Council employees said they put out 150 chairs in the Council Chamber and some 30 or so can go upstairs with some standng – not many. Another 20 had to be turned away, including saveHOVE supporters who live near King Alfred and who went through both the Karis and Citigrove redevelopment nightmares. So about 200 managed to get in. For now, until the video is available, here is the meeting in a sequence of photos with explanatory captions to tell you who was there.
Please note that articles, letters in the Argus and on the Brighton and Hove News site in the wake of this meeting will be posted under “What the Papers Said”. Have a look. Write one of your own! Offer a 400 word Soapbox opinion on the King Alfred to the Argus. Go for it.
People still arriving as 2pm looms. The Argus reports that some 20 people had to be turned away.
Hove MP Mike Weatherley in the Chair
We are told there will be two separately presenting panels with a refreshment interval between each one. The meeting to finish at 4:30pm
Carolyn Dwyer, Lambeth Council – Streatham Hub Leisure Development
James Appleton, Adur&Worhing Councils – Splashpoint Leisure Centre
Mike Weatherley, Cllr Geoffrey Theobald, John Reed listening to James Appleton
James Appleton gives us the new Worthing Splashpoint Centre story
John Reid, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council speaks about the Horley Leisure Centre
Reed answers questions ahead of next speaker
Mike Weatherley introduces Mark Cannon, Chair of Shiverers Swimming Club
Mark Cannon spells out pool needs
Worrying stats are given about the numbers of children not learning how to swim
Conservative Group Leader on B&H Council completes the presentations from the first panel
Cllr Theobald said members of the public should be on the King Alfred Project Board
Rob Starr and Darren Abrahams from the Edward Starr Trust. Theirs is one of the developer groups seeking the opportunity to redevelop King Alfred. Their proposal has an arts/sports focus plus housing
Bill Murray of Murray Media, working for the Edward Starr Trust bid
Darren Abrahams & Rob Starr with Esplanade residents David Ford, Heather and David Jewell
We are back for panel 2. The man in black has just demanded time be given for public Q&A – not given with Panel 1 before the break
First speaker up is Emma Andrews, pitching for a temp ice rink between now and a redevelopment at KA
The sales pitch continues. The unused scrub area by KA is the bit they want to use to test the market for a permanent ice rink
Ed Allison-Wright from the Centurion Group; currently redeveloping Brighton Square and adjacent old Hannington’s goods yard
Allison-Wright possesses charm and respectfully warm delivery skills….but it is the charm and respect of a redevelopment that counts
Adrian Black of Totem Commercial begins his presentation
Black tells us a scheme can be delivered that is no more than 7 storeys high…..
Black shows us a ‘massing’ model (in green) within the area context. Note it is up to pavement’s edge by St. Aubyns South and St. Aubyn’s Mansions.
Panel 2 and Totem’s massing model concept design
Kevin Doyle of City Partnerships.
Doyle tells us he works with John Regan. See Victoria Terrace elsewhere for Regan’s involvement there
Mike Weatherley casts a ‘weather’ eye up over the elevated public gallery
Geoffrey Baker, Professor Emeritus of architecture
From the floor….a pitch to have the KA site from a King’s School representative.
King’s are a faith school and the govt has tried to force BHCC to give them land at BHASVIC/Cardinal Newman for their free school
Hove MP, Mike Weatherley
Many people had questions and comments to make
Ed Allison-Wright from Centurion provides a response to one of the public queries
Crowd thinning in the upper gallery as the meeting winds down and final questions and answers are made.
The whole of Panel 2 as Mke Weatherley winds up the meeting
Howard, who asks what about the awful Prince Regent? Why isn’t that being redeveloped?
Robert Nemeth runs the MP’s office and is thought to have organised this meeting for him