2.2.16…..The great veil of secrecy is about to be lifted.
The ten days of “standing still” have now elapsed since Policy & Resources ratified the Project Board advice and selected the Starr Trust/Crest Nicholson bid to redeveleop the combined 1938 King Alfred Community/Leisure/Sports Centre and RNR site. No challenge is therefore now expected from Bouygues to the Brighton & Hove City Council decision.
Council Leader, Cllr Warren Morgan tells me that “material is being put out by the Comms team, and I’m scheduled to do a few interviews over the next day or so“.
Yesterday, ITV rang to request a saveHOVE interview for this morning….more on this anon. Maybe something on both ITV and BBC later today. Make sure to get the Argus tomorrow! Hopefully for some pictures!
The pictures of David and I together in front of the BBC reporter were snapped by PR Bill Murray and tell a body language story that’s kind of humorous to look at. We, rather grandly standoffish, and the BBC reporter tensely struggling to get us to say something polarisingly confrontational. We had not seen any plans yet!
David Jewell and Valerie Paynter met with both ITV and BBC local TV news teams outside King Alfred this morning to answer their questions, give circumspect views and disappoint them that we are not gearing up to go to war with the Starr Trust and Crest Nicholson. The time for that is the planning stage – as necessary. Having not yet seen the designs no sensible judgment could be made! Also present to begin with were Starr Trust and Crest Nicholson representatives which was nice. We were formally introduced to them. And we are offering to bring our extensive experience of the previous, Karis, redevelopment attempt to the table to try to bring as constructive an influence as possible into this very early stage of plans development.
They were gobsmacked actually. Instead of getting outrage, they were told that residents hope to work with the developers over coming months to get the best we can from what is not a great situation for Hove, impact-wise. The quasi-precedent consent given to Karis for 751 flats in up to 26 storey towers in 2007 “counts as a material consideration” according to a planning consultant spoken with, and is not the absolute precedent previously believed. And since that 2007 decision the NPPF has been put in place and other changes – like the City Plan – have come along too.
As we have yet to be shown designs, it was not prudent to give any judgment on what is planned. We are haunted by that upper end possibility. At the moment the plan is 560 flats in up to 18 storeys, this tallest building going in the far southwest corner to minimise impact to the greatest extent. And it cascades from there.
It is important that the public is given realistic and responsible feedback from saveHOVE. So please take on board that instead of just having a registered planning application to just react to, this time we have a whole year AHEAD of a planning application, during which it is hoped that resident input can temper and help reduce the problems (that will inevitably go into the planning application) to an absolute minimum. And it is clear, from the positioning of the 18 storey tower in the extreme south-west corner of the development site, that the developers and Brighton & Hove City Council have also ALREADY worked on how to minimise impact too. Further, the council is putting £8m towards the cost this time.
Let’s travel hopefully in this first year of possibility before change and development of the scheme reaches the planning stage. The schedule anticipates submission of a planning application at the start of 2017.
Lunchtime BBC sees the first of our interviews aired. ITV may not broadcast till this evening.