MEDINA HOUSE – a first image is released of the proposed redevelopment


This Pilbrow CGI shows how the newbuild ‘ghost’ reinterpretation of Medina House has the potential to visually reintegrate Marrocco next door back into the Esplanade frontage by way of its past/present linking position and appearance.

16.9.16…..The King Alfred ballroom hosted a formal public consultation Exhibition of plans on Thursday, September 15th and again on Saturday, September 17th ahead of finalising the scheme for a planning application.  Consultation forms were available and people were encouraged to use them to provide their views and suggestions.  The public feedback will be collated and put into a document for inclusion as part of the set of documents for the planning application.  
Medina House design could still change ahead of planning application submission. Have your say 17.9.16!

My photo of the model does not clearly show the shuttered windows on the Sussex Rd elevation, alas – apols for that. Please note design changes are still possible ahead of the final submission of a planning application


The designers of the Medina House proposal are Stuart  Westwater and Keb Garavito-Bruhn of the architecture firm Pilbrow and Partners working to a brief from Polly Samson.
In the wake of August consultation meetings provided to small groups of people, the designers have reduced the height by a metre from 3.7m higher than existing to 2.7m.  Recessed dormer windows were also removed from the roof leaving just those visible here.  The apex of the roof was shaved flat (part of height reduction!!) and two roof lights added to it.  Extra solar panels could also be added along that line in future but are not included now.  Solar panels ARE however in the plans along the back wall area over the winter garden.  There is a tree proposed for the yard.  Lou Stack tells me a tree was removed from the rear of a Victoria Terrace address awhile back that “was the southernmost tree in England”.  If that was right, then a tree in this sheltered spot would take that title. A tree would also soften the appearance of the brickwork if it goes above the wall or oversails it a bit.
Privacy was designed in from the off –  by putting the windows higher up from the pavement, but inside too, there will be deep shelves putting space between the actual glass and interior area. On the western elevation, towards the back there are two lines of narrow, permanent shutters along with two wider actual windows with openable shutters (not sure if that is a change or was there before).
Those attending Thursday’s exhibition date were largely pleased and even keen.  Criticisms included “bland”, “industrial looking” and “no privacy with queues of people in front of it waiting to buy ice cream from Marrocco”.  The terracotta swag at the top of the existing sea-facing wall of Medina House was referred to as a detail wanted for the new frontage.  I suggested maybe getting a stonemason to carve something into the brick. A further comment behind the Argus article showing the top image here (provided by Pilbrow), objected, saying ” it looks like a mosque”!!!   
The Planning Application is due to be submitted by the end of September, 2016.  The architects have had pre-application meetings with both officers and the Planning Committee (most of whom turned up for it).  Feedback to them was apparently pretty minimal.

Medina House Building Condition

Medina House was built with “red rubber” bricks (a term, no actual rubber in them) and its’ four outside walls are load-bearing.  By 1923 the cheap and porous bricks were already in poor condition, which is WHY the surface was rendered.  That render is not original and was put there to keep the building going in 1923.  They only lasted 30 years before needing that!  And 1923 was 93 years ago.  Pilbrow’s architects tell me that the bricks have gone “powdery” in parts of the eastern elevation.  This detail supports their survey and contention that the building is beyond economic recovery and conversion. 
Photos in exhibition flats this week showed some of the totally burnt out and blackened interior which two arsons inflicted.  What, in truth, is there left to keep for any regeneration project?  There ARE people who insist it can still be saved.  So they need to provide clear and credibl evidence for their planning responses.
There are cost implications for any project here which need to be soberly considered in working out just how far past recovery Medina really is.  It is known from Land Registry that Polly Samson paid OVER £1m to Sirus Taghan to acquire the site.  It is chokemaking to think of him getting a penny more than he originally paid for the privilege of irresponsible ownership and negligence over 17 years – just £300,000 in 1998.  Clearance, asbestos removal, securing the site, ground investigations (for a foundation), architects and PR firm fees, the planning application prep and council fee….how much more has been invested to this stage over the £1m plus  paid for Medina House?
Only the back wall area with the Royal Doulton tiles still attached will be retained, for incorporation into the newbuild winter garden at the back of the courtyard.  It has to be kept in order to keep the tiles.  It means that the eastern elevation blue tiles will be lost as they cannot be removed from the brick wall without being lost.

A polished halo moment!  We stopped Sirus Taghan building any of THESE!

Our achievement: none of Taghan's horror towers got planning consent!

Our achievement: none of Taghan’s horror towers got planning consent!

I would like to put something to everyone here:  David Gilmour is concerned about the heritage lamps along the Esplanade from The Meeting House cafe to Hove Lagoon.  BHCC have put temporary heads on some and say there is a cost implication keeping them there.  Mr. Gilmour would like to see a campaign to get this sorted; plus, what do others think of the light-colour change from warm to cold white?  And is it even an option to seek a change on that front?  Email saveHOVE with your thoughts please.  According to one of the Pilbrow architects working on Medina, other than the new and much harsher light colour IS possible these days.  The council are poor and getting poorer so any serious campaign would need to involve fundraising.

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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