1.6.16…..Hyde Housing’s 17-storey proposal for the Sackville Hotel site is history; their interest in developing the site remains and they have a new game plan. It includes pre-design consultation with us.
A 27th May email to saveHOVE, followed by a phone call today from Simon Petar, invites and seeks input BEFORE and TOWARDS a replacement scheme, starting with a series of Design Workshops. Mr. Petar stressed they are “starting afresh” by progressively involving residents in order to take things forward in a more cooperative way. They are well-chastened, possibly even humbled, by the thrashing they took for that misbegotten and foolish 17 storey scheme.
The first step is their wish to hold this series of workshops at their Brighton offices (10 people in each meeting and there is one this Friday) bringing Hyde, their new architect and resident representatives together to provide design views and ideas.
The second stage is public consultation, followed by an actual public discussion meeting if wanted and needed. Finally, they propose to follow all that up with a “Telephone Town Hall” – so a multi-staged edging forward to a new planning application with hopes of being able to get an agreed scheme in place.
The chat with Simon Petar was followed up with a call to Hove Seafront RA’s Angelique Henderson asking about their invitation to also attend one of the Design Workshops. Their position is one of refusal to attend any meetings on a future proposal without a Given in place: a pre-condition for attendance. Angelique demands that they agree in advance to limit height to the guideline of 6-8 storeys which is encoded in the Brighton & Hove City Council’s Tall Building planning policy SPGBH 15. Seems sensible, so nobody is wasting their time.
Regrettably, Angelique was told they are looking to stagger heights – up to 12 storeys – which is unacceptable. So there is a problem before we begin. Talked to The Brighton Society’s Selma Montford about this after talking with Angelique. Selma agrees that Hyde have to agree to the 6-8 storeys height as a precondition for any kind of productive way forward. So that is three of us. An email has been sent to KAWHRA (down by the Port) seeking their views on taking a united stand on this one issue of height restriction. And that is where we leave it today.
Hyde will no doubt be contact a number of groups seeking attendance at one of these workshop events over the coming weeks. It is hoped that everyone will be in agreement that nothing higher than the 6-8 storeys specified in BHCC’s own tall building planning policy will be supported by anyone for that site.
There are good reasons for the limit. Included are overshadowing of the entirely residential area behind it, maintaining the existing building line along the Kingsway, and not creating a precedent for increased heights along the Kingsway and in ways that compromise Conservation Area status and the finer buildings nearby on the Kingsway. Indeed Angelique and Valerie agree that the newbuild adjacent the vacant site is a successful addition to the streetscene. Why not just copy it and continue its line into the Sackville Hotel site space. Why not.
There are, too, troubling questions which remain to be answered. Why is the current planning consent for a five storey terrace not being used by the present owners (Hyde have taken an option on the site which is conditional on getting planning consent for a different scheme)? Is it just about money? Or is it also about Covenant restriction on height? Where is the break-even point for Hyde, given they must have blown a cool £100,000 on that 17-storey scheme and are shelling out for a new one now? They are Registered Social Landlords, partly bankrolled by Government Grant. There was NO social housing included in the now binned 17-storeys proposal. Do they intend to become just another Market Developer? Where are they going and how much can we really influence that?
So there you have it. Who are they asking to come to design workshop meetings apart from Hove Seafront RA’s Angelique and saveHOVE’s Valerie. We would be interested to compare notes and share thinking with other groups being invited to a workshop meeting concerning 189 Kingsway – site of the once fabulous Sackville Hotel.