The now-registered Sackville Hotel site application BH2015/04414: first things first

29.1.16…..This application, submitted on 7th December 2015 and given a planning number to give it a place on the planning register the next day, was finally validated on the 25th of January, with registration on the 27th of January.  See previous posts here for the issues that caused delay in validation.  Documents had to be amended, replaced.  Allsorts, to comply with submission requirements.  The application itself was never withdrawn during all that.  There were just anomalies, blunders, missing information issues, etc. from Hyde which you would not expect and which delayed registration for two months.  Two months….tsk, tsk. tsk.
It is important to now scrutinise the documentation we are finally able to look at on the planning register.  Input the planning number to get to them.
There is a set and correct order for tackling what you see there.  Do not be daunted.  Your job is to take in what is proposed and then hunt out the mistakes and misinformation and to see how it all stacks up against Govt and council planning policies.  For the rank beginner just look for the blunders.  Every planning application has a few.  Local knowledge compared to the applicant’s claims can often conflict and if provided to the planning officer in consultation responses, can inspire questions he/she will take to the applicant for clarification.  The Hove Seafront RA has engaged planning consultant Tezel Bahcheli to do the depth work, but even she cannot replace local knowledge.  Things like windows you have that don’t somehow find their way onto applicant drawings of what you have….!
So.  Scroll down to the Planning Statement and begin there.  Read it.  Even print it off for reference.  It is the core document along with the Design & Access Statement (which you read next) from which all else flows.  It is your starting point and will give you the orientation you need to then tackle anything else.
Look after that for CGI images.  These are the computer depictions of how it will all look in the streetscape and is ALWAYS about reducing appearance of impact and bamboozling people into being steered into thinking what the developer wants you to think.  Views are typically from the point of view of passing seagulls somewhere many metres up in the sky or even from out to sea.  In this case, the CGI’s you need to DEMAND should be from the ground-level point of view of residents in their gardens between Walsingham Road and Sackville Gardens, first and foremost.  Impact here will be extreme, mainly on overlooking grounds.
Look at the overshadowing documents but be careful of overweighting attention here, compared to other issues.  The 17 storey tower will act like a sundial with sun shadows falling in a fairly quick moving manner as the sun moves through the southern sky over the sea.
There is one other little thing that residents can do.  Click on Consultees within the planning register details for this application and just scrutinise the addresses you see there.  The council chooses a chunk of space and up comes all the addresses on their 30-40 year old gazetteer which they cannot afford to update.  They WILL take corrections for it though so if you know that some of the addresses no longer exist or if a single dwelling is now split up into several flats, do give the planning officer this information.  Hopefully an analysis will be undertaken by the Hove Seafront RA for their own records as well as to provide what information they can to the planning dept.  So tell them too.  Why don’t they use council tax/other records?  Don’t ask.  They don’t.
This is the basic, simple stuff every resident can handle.  I’ll write again about further work residents can undertake.  But first things first.

You must have a look at the documents so you have a proper sense of what you are dealing with and so you can spot your opportunities for making killer points others may not have thought of.  Do not underestimate your own ability and power if you take your time over this.  Please don’t just seek out a form letter to sign or copy and submit points you are given!  They don’t impress the planning officers or win refusals because, like teachers, they can spot when you didn’t do your homework and copied someone else’s!  Reading case files is interesting.  Real power comes from hearing different voices (inevitably) saying similar things but always with something of their own.  The file of responses should reflect sincere involvement and not just fence-rushing or cynical and thought-free, flag-waving. Or worse: bluffing, using someone else’s ideas and none of your own.



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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