25 October 2013…..The first application for blocks of zero-carbon eco flats at Basin Road North in the Port of Shoreham, fronting the Kingsway, complete with turbines, solar panels, bells and whistles failed. Claims for turbine use and performance could not be proved.
It resurfaced in a second incarnation as BH2012/04044 which has taken most of this year to find its way to committee. Gone are the turbines and the blocks are no longer all the same height. A snaggle-tooth roofline of varying heights is the result although the building design remains essentially as before.
There will still be a cliff face and bizarre canyon effect on the Basin Road North side and the blocks are still profoundly different and incongruous in the context of the interwar buildings dead opposite along the Kingsway they are expected to front. The Kingsway becomes a kind of Berlin Wall between them, separating the two worlds even further than ever the Port activities did.
But, hey, its ECO! Man. ECO! So its co-o-o-ol, yeah? This is what the developers will be hoping will over-ride all other considerations and swing it for them at the Planning Committee on Wednesday, 30th October. If it is eco, the Greens will all go for it, looking no further. Past performance suggests the developer can count on this. And it is recommended to grant this time, minus the turbines and with some height concessions. The Kingsway and West Hove Residents Association, with its retired planning officer a resident advisor, has been unable to gain a recommendation to refuse.
From a planning strategy perspective this is a sad moment.
The Port of Shoreham is to undergo major changes in years to come with a rejigging of how it is organised and used. The Aldrington Basin end of it in Hove has the Western Esplanade’s Seaside Villas fronting the beach area, Hove Lagoon to the east of it and Kingsway to the north above it. A coordinated development of the Basin area with an harmonious design around the end water would have been a better way forward. Instead, if Portzed is given consent and is built, the Kingsway/Basin Road North part of the area will constrain what can be done in the basin area below the Kingsway. Producing a proposal for Aldrington Basin that invites and mediates between Port activities and Hove Lagoon is not helped by the loss of one side of Basin Road North on the Kingsway side to the Portzed proposal which is highly dominating of the Basin, looked at from the south.
Will Planning Committee members be able to consider this? Is future Port need and strategy enough to matter? Probably not. Does the fact the developers had an open invitation to speak to the Port about use of the western arm instead matter? Probably not. Bill Dunster and Colin Brace don’t have time to wait for that apparently.
UPDATE: Planning Consent was achieved.