12 September 2013…..The proposed 3-storey, chunky block, Spanish/English bilingual school application, recommended for refusal, has been withdrawn ahead of next Wednesday, 18th September 2013 Planning Committee meeting. But they’ll be back.
The Conservation Area application to demolish depot buildings will go ahead for decision. It is recommended ‘to grant’. It is not good news for Hove or Portslade as the trip for gardeners from Stanmer to Hove and Portslade is long and one wonders where they will get their water in future for work in these areas of the city. At present vehicles come to the Hove Park Depot for water for parks and gardens work. It is a serious base for them. And there can be no doubt that the great beauty and care that Hove Park gets has to be down to the fact the gardeners are based there.
The bilingual school intends to address reasons for refusal provided within the report prepared for next week’s planning meeting and to confer again with officers and put in a new application with changes to plans.
It is a very sad fact that the rights and presence of the Brighton & Hove Society of Miniature Locomotive Engineers, their tracks and 15-times a year opening days for rides by the public which block proposed school use of the existing depot gateway into and over their land is not one of the reasons for refusal. This disvaluing is a disgrace. They are leaseholders of that area all the way from the top of the park, along the length of the back border of The Engineerium and down along the entire length of the Depot and past the electrical sub-station. And they are railed in all along that length – giving security to the back of the Engineerium and to the depot on the park side.
There is no opportunity for any clear entry from the proposed school site over the park to Goldstone Crescent other than via The Droveway. They can have only one entry – The Droveway. The Droveway is extremely steep from City Park down to the depot and just single lane width. In winter it would be icy and hazardous to negotiate by car or on foot.
Perhaps they will choose to reduce pupil numbers significantly and take off the 3rd storey or vary the roofline in some way. It is, however, hard to see how they can address the traffic, parkng and access/egress issues which transport consultees found to be a grave problem leading them to recommend refusal.
The report for the Committee made only one concession to the miniature railway’s interests. It suggested that if the committee were minded to overturn the recommendation and grant the application then a Condition could be provided restricting the back entrance gate to emergency use only over the miniature railway area. This assumes a renegotiated lease for the railway that incorporates such a shared use and shared liability with shared insurance, etc. etc. and shared keys.
Is it really fair to expect the Miniature Railway to just roll over and be expected to take that if a revised application comes in with that gate entry still on its plans? After being there for over 60 years and as leaseholders since 1973? It is a highly valued Hove Park attraction and Brighton & Hove City Council must demonstrate it has both respect and a capacity for loyalty by defending it against the wish of this school to have access over its area.