By Hove Station: Update to 17 storeys of unsuitable development proposed for Ellen Street

BH2016/02663

28.10.16…..Please note this application is still live and undecided, although a number of council consultee responses recommend refusal.  The Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum recommends approval as do the Regency Society and the Hove Civic Society (its Chair is an HSNF committee member). The responses are online on the application documents page.  You need to be quick if you wish to put in a response of your own.  The saveHOVE one went in today.  Developers often withdraw applications if a refusal is likely so have a look ASAP at documents online.  If the application is withdrawn, all the online material is withdrawn too.  A decision is due from BHCC end October….anytime soon.
16.9.16 …..Slight change to title for this already published post, with material added – photos of the site area and needed comment on the nearly invisible Ethel Street traders hidden away behind Goldstone Villas one way and a bank of parked cars and trees the other.

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ETHEL STREET

sept-matsim-1-3-ellen-st-028Whilst taking these pictures, I paid a visit to the single-storey Ethel Street traders – mostly in garages or converted garage spaces, although the northern end is development from not long ago. This little hive of activity has been overlooked as it has quietly grown there.  It has charm that needs investment on its access path to improve amenity. Today I spoke with the case officer, Kate Brocklebank, who has been to the site to take her own photos for the file and she noticed this tucked-away line of businesses for herself.  I identified the four to her that I spoke with who she can now add to the register.  Some, however, have Goldstone Villas addresses.  There is a 96 Goldstone Villas garage here as well as a 96 Ethel Street business.  It would be sensible to detach these legally from Goldstone Villas and give them Ethel Street addresses and wider use-class designation to help traders and regularise things. Whatever, their presence is valuable and not to be overlooked when it comes to assessing the impact of the proposals.  Their premises are all single aspect – facing west.  They are already in considerable shade (in a charming way, actually), but losing skylight would impact them terrifically.

Daylight

The variety of work going on is magic.  A quite smart design & print firm is at one end, an ornate plaster moulding studio sits by a bicycle repair shop, a motor garage, etc.  They MUST be protected and not lose the daylight to their single aspect entry areas.  The Daylight Assessment in this application needs to be given serious attention by everyone there and in the low-rise flats between Livingstone House and Goldstone House (Two 10 storey towers to the south).
The entire Clarendon & Ellen Estate could lose its access/egress privacy on the Ellen Street side if this application is consented.  But residents lettered have ignored the application!!!
The stretch of Ethel Street from Ellen up to Conway has the potential to become a seriously amazing oasis with small traders and a treed ambience conducive to just hanging out.  The application proposes a retail component facing these traders.  But losing the London Plane trees put there about 10 years ago by the council when seeking to discourage flytipping in the area beside the shed.  The application seeks their removal and building right up to the pavement edge (natch).  Why is this totally unacceptable, trees or no trees?

The Brighton & Hove Bus Company

The garages and offices occupy most of the north side of Conway Street. The 2012 plans to relocate to Hollingbury fell through – promoted by Roger French, the plans died when he retired.  THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR THEM TO LEAVE.  This creates serious issues for the proposed redevelopment and for Ethel Street.  For many, many years the residents of Livingstone House have had their nights and air quality ruined by the buses parking the length of Ethel Street, often with engines left running and spewing exhaust.  The print studio at 96 Ethel Street suffers too now.  Often there very late into the evening they have both that and anti-social behaviour (drug dealing) to put up with outside their door.
But how would prospective residents of this proposed mega-tower of 188 flats cope with the fumes and running motor noise?  And the proposed retailer?  It would kill trade if it involved food.  Where are the letters from Livingstone House residents on this?  The planning office need to be informed of things like this.
One day, it would be nice to have the section of Ethel Street from Ellen up to Conway become part of a hospitable and pedestrianised little oasis just by the steps down from Hove Station.  Could be really cool.  The trees are already there.  All that’s needed is to move the buses and design something more appropriate for the shed site than is currently planned.  Do you agree?  Please put in a consultation response to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk (but DO have a quick look at material in links below).
22.8.16…..The formal deadline for responses to this application is just a few days away (26th August) but it is unlikely to be decided for a long while after that so DO look at the Planning Statement and the Design & Access Statement first to get to grips with what is offered.  Email your view of it all to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Clip of Planning Register entry

A Clip of Planning Register entry

An awful lot of activity is proposed for this site.  Can Hove Station handle another 200 or so commuters each morning – the flats are aimed squarely at incomers needing easy commuter access.  What about schools and other infrastructure.  What is available locally that they could plug into?
Consultee responses are now posted online with application documents.  There are already a couple of notable ones.  A huge sum is recommended be demanded towards education for that part of the Section 106 obligation.  And the comment from Environmental Health gives this application a stinging thumbs down.  You have to read it.  She recommends Refusal.
Perhaps the biggest issue for existing residents is access from the surrounding streets.  Vehicle access is ONLY from Fonthill Road to the north or from Ethel Street or between Conway Court and Clarendon House along Clarendon Road to the south.  When the 1960’s demolitions occurred, many little linking streets were abolished to make way for the five 10-storey blocks and commercial sheds behind them.  It thoughtlessly and effectively made of the semi-industrial area something of an island site.  This is a major problem for redevelopment again now.  Look carefully at the Transport Statement.  Read the Transport Statement 1 and Transport Statement 2 for claims and have your say!
What is proposed would replace just the single shed area (containing 3 tenants) in front of the bus station and beside its bus park by the Agora – not a big space at all.  But note from this photo the impact on Ethel Street businesses and Goldstone Villas housing that a tall building would have.  This sunlight would become deep shade.  To the north there is just the station and bus depot to lose sunlight, but Clifton Court just to the top of the photo, opposite the pub, could also be affected.  Certainly, all these buildings you see here would be dwarfed.  Read the daylight assessment claims.  Do you agree?  Can you prove otherwise?
Ellen Street shed looking towards backs of Goldstone Villas buildings

Ellen Street shed looking towards backs of Goldstone Villas buildings

Residents of Goldstone House could expect to see some light loss to the bedrooms facing north.  Residents of Livingstone House will see some light loss to kitchens, located on the north side, facing north, especially during summer evenings as the sun sets. The scale of how huge this is can be seen in this section drawing looking east from Fonthill Road.  Bus Station to the left and a terraced house in Clarendon Road to the right.
Elevation drawing from the application documents showing from Conway bus garage over to Clarendon terrace house

Elevation drawing from the application documents showing from Conway bus garage over to Clarendon terrace house

So.  188 flats, offices, a little retail.  It’s an awful lot for this tiny site, but the incentive for the council to agree comes from the City Plan Pt 1 which forces this area (up to Old Shoreham Road) to allow hundreds of dwellings to be put there (by order of Planning Inspectors).  Tall building guidance advises mixed use for tall buildings that puts commercial activity at ground level, with housing above.  The small amount of retail is sited on the Ethel Street frontage facing the trees you can see in the photo.  Hidden away.
The design is like a series of angular silos all mooshed up together in one huge unbroken mass, made to look more broken up, with varying height areas, more ‘organically’ like a normal townscape where things get built over long periods of time, the whole enclosing its ‘garden’ in the middle.

Ellen St Hove Station BH2016_02663 CGI view west from Ethel St Ellen St Hove Station BH2016_02663 lightwell amenity space

The space in the middle of the development is little more than a light well, given the heights around it.  As a retired planner emailing saveHOVE  says, “It is hard to imagine anything growing down in that hole”.  It would be in total shade at all times.  Amenity for residents would not be good.  How wide is it?  Can’t be more than 5 metres by about 15 – not a lot of outdoor space for 188 flats.  Look in the documents for the actual size.
A scaled down version of this development might be acceptable but this is surely still a greedy overdevelopment from MATSIM.  Their 2012 plans for a wider area were deemed so unacceptable by planners during pre-planning advice meetings that NO application ever appeared.  Once again, they are using Nick Lomax from Lomax, Cassidy, Edwards as their architect.
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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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