Now registered Application for newbuild Spanish/English school on Hove Park land threatens Park’s future

BH2013/02096 Hove Park Depot The Droveway Hove Received on 18/06/2013
UNDER CONSIDERATION Demolition of existing buildings and construction of a new three storey primary school building with brise soleil solar shading, solar panels and windcatchers with associated external hard and soft landscaping.

BH2013/02097 Hove Park Depot The Droveway Hove Received on 18/06/2013
UNDER CONSIDERATION Demolition of existing buildings and construction of a new three storey primary school building.

NB.  THIS APPLICATION WAS WITHDRAWN ON 12.9.13 FOLLOWING RECOMMENATION TO REFUSE, AND AHEAD OF PRESENTATION AT COMMITEE FOR DECISION. PLEASE READ THIS FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION ONLY.

6 July 2013…..There is no physical separation of the proposed site in Hove Park from the park itself. This huge school would be inside Hove Park itself, right beside a huge electric sub-station on one side and the 5-times-over Listed Engineerium on the other and opposite a high cliff-face City Park office building wall down a single lane shared access driveway (The Droveway).  The Brighton & Hove Society of Miniature Locomotive Engineers and their tracks run from the north end of the park behind the Engineerium and down (between the depot and open parkland) past the depot and the electrical sub-station to a turning point by the Droveway where it crosses the park.  It affects the setting of a Listed Building and is within a Conservation Area.  And the depot is covered by the protective use Covenant on the entire park.

The Coalition Government has thrown itself wildly into wrenching schools provision away from local authority control.  It is encouraging the creation of a huge variety of different types of schooling which will create a confusion of differently educated teenagers who, when it comes to gaining qualifications and university entrance, will no longer be working to a common standard that is easily referenced by everyone. 
This is going to lead to a costly and an inefficient use of future resources – like giving every person at the dinner table something different to eat.   Scale that up to catering for 30 or 40 in a class who all went to different kinds of infant and junior schools – even secondary schools!  They will all be State Schools, paid for out of the overstretched public purse as well.
The Coalition is deliberately contributing to the break-down of a common British culture with this policy – from infant school on – which is surprising, given it is Conservative-led.  And the policy is consequently forcing a deeper shortage of common-culture, local authority controlled curriculums in schools.  No wonder UKIP is doing so well in gaining support, whether or not they should be getting it.
There is no limit to the number or kind of Free School or Academy that the Coalition Govt is prepared to support in any one area.  Alarmingly, the Conservative-led Coalition govt is  prepared to snatch publicly owned land from local authorities to give to them too!  All these new schools have to do is by-pass the local authority and go directly to the government quango created to facilitate and take control away from local authorities, and Bob’s your uncle.  And this is what the bilingual Spanish/English school currently based in Falmer has done.  Elsewhere the Kings faith school seek to take the King Alfred site on the seafront for their religious education-focussed school.  If they succeed, and you don’t want your child to be bilingually educated in English and Spanish or to have a religious education, you will have even less choice about where to send your child to school. 
There is some hope.  If the land is not already allocated by the local authority and there is enough resistance (BHASVIC, Cardinal Newman field), an attempt can be seen off.  But BHCC confirms it supports use of Hove Park for a school.  It beggars belief.  It means that stopping it at the planning application stage is the only way to prevent this park-destructive scheme going ahead.  The school is far too big for starters and the bowling facility application for the site failed back in the day.

What if there are no spaces available for your child in a council-controlled common culture school because all the space for new school provision went to Free Schools or Academies?  What if parents are then forced to send their child to a minority interest, specialist ‘state’ Free or Academy school? And  what if your child went to a council infant school but is then forced to go on to a Spanish/English junior school due to lack of options?  But doesn’t have the grounding in Spanish the others have?  What if, come secondary school, the choices and competition force even more variation?

The Hove Park depot was used (under Hove Borough Council) to grow the plants used for display in public parks and gardens.  These days they just buy them in.  It became known as the Scrub Nursery after unification with Brighton.  It is still a gardeners’ station as well as a storage area for large items and watering vehicles that fill their tanks there.  Gardeners have been under longstanding pressure to leave Hove and to decamp to Stanmer.  It will make Hove parks and gardens maintenance that bit less accessible for them and it is a worry as we stand to lose the level of attention they receive now – especially in Hove Park itself.
The ‘scrub nursery’  became the subject of an attempt to off-house a bowling facility there during the Karis/Frank Gehry King Alfred redevelopment attempt.   It was pointed out in the objection speech at planning that the area had a preventive Covenant on it.  No problem.  The council went away and found a Stanford Estate person to agree to removal of the public Park-use-only Covenant.  The planning application failed and the land lost its Hove Park Covenant protection. 
During the Conservative Administration, Hove Park Ward Cllr Vanessa Brown agreed this site for school use.  Why? And why has Green Administration Cllr Sue Shanks agreed to retain that decision?  Why doesn’t Hove Park have more value to the Green Administration?
Why agree to the further urbanisation of Hove Park’s western edge  (in the wake of the creation of City Park and the flats behind the Greyhound Stadium by Park View and Orchard Road.
The area south of the park is earmarked to take 630 units of housing under the new City Plan and presumably new residents in DA6 from the Goldstone Retail Park south will wish to use this park too.  Where does it stop?  And what increased maintenance costs will this park incur as a result of the increased thousands who will increasingly need to use it?  What is the maintenance limit to its use?  How much use is too much for Hove Park to take?
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About saveHOVE

Concerned with planning, development and the conservation of historic Hove, we actively seek to prevent inappropriate, negligent and abusive redevelopments!
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