15the August 2015…..
Planning applications registered in the last week include this one, submitted by Hove’s new MP, Peter Kyle. It is an application which should be looked at by everyone in his Hove & Portslade Constituency. He seeks nothing less than creation of a highly active hub! He is our MP and that hub needs to reflect Hove & Portslade Constituency voter needs first and foremost.
Many will be familiar with the shop premises in Church Road just east of Wilbury Road from where his General Election campaign was mounted.
Many too, will also recall the Brighton & Hove Independent front page article, illustrated by a laughingly lairy Josh Arghiros (Karis) that told us he had donated £10,000 to Peter Kyle’s campaign. Indeed at an Old Market meeting where this was raised as an issue, Mr. Kyle defended acceptance of it as necessary to fund his electoral campaign. It is true that campaigns DO have to be funded, but taking money from the man who brought several years of planning mayhem to Hove (King Alfred) which only ended with his loss of ING funding and failure to gain new for it, was ‘concerning’. Did his largesse start and stop there or is he still part of the Peter Kyle team, one wonders….
No matter, as it is not a planning consideration. Read the Planning Statement and you get a set of plans for the premises over a few floors that go wa-a-a-ay beyond what an MP’s constituency office would normally be expected to provide or involve. It would be a Labour Party Community Centre basically, out of which it could grow itself and parts of the (sympathetic) community it draws to it….plus house the MP in local premises. Will it be user-friendly for all parts of the community though? Like the elderly? Plans are highly youth-oriented, which could see a degree of exclusivity creep in.
The application requires 5 years temporary change of class A shop/retail to B1 offices and D class community use. If it was primarily community with ancillary office use, it would be preferable, as conversion to primarily office use leads in a straight line to an eventual conversion to housing without a planning application (current planning law). This is not an issue today but does create a future certainty.
A huge amount of activity is proposed for the site which might lead to amenity issues for surrounding residents, but surely none as serious as the growing number of restaurants in that part of Church Road produce! It is a creative proposal which sees our MP (with his local Labour colleagues) giving the role of MP for Hove a total makeover that sees him outreaching into the community and schools proactively in a bid to engage and involve them in his base. How is it to be funded?