Medina House: A new application submitted: BH2016/05893

7.11.16…..The expected application was logged on the Council website on 31.10.16 with its allocated file identification BH2016/05893 and status ‘invalid’.  It is invalid while being registered – this being about inspecting documents and details as being complete for the purpose of registration.  Only then will neighbour consultation letters go out to that part of the area they deem necessary (which may or may not be ALL those who NEED to be included).  For the record this should include all Sussex Road, Victoria Cottages, Benham and Bath Court residents as bare minimum.  Sadly, it has been council policy not to letter buildings containing more than 15 flats, so we need to watch for Benham and Bath Court who will be very much affected on lower floors.  The two big issues of principle will be height and demolition/replacement of Medina House.
When we know what the documentation includes, please check for its HEIGHT to see if any further lowering, in the wake of summer consultations and the September public exhibiton, has been conceded.  Sunlight, where the shadows fall NOW should be photographed to provide evidence of existing impact from Medina House and again as the winter sunlight falls lower and lower, creating more and more shade in Sussex Road and Victoria Cottages (back areas especially).  I do not expect Victoria Terrace to be impacted by this application.

The Conservation Question

Many of us are quite excited by the proposal we saw over the summer, even love it.  It offers a poetic, ghost of Medina House re-arisen design.  Gone but not gone.  The question of whether it should totally replace the existing building (but keeping and incorporating part of the back wall and tiles and looking like it) remains as a planning issue.  The Gilmours’ team are clear Medina House is not in good enough shape to be kept for conversion.  Does the application demonstrate to proof level that this is so?  The documentation must be scrutinised and probed on  this front, over and above dearest conservation wishes to keep this last bath house standing, with a realistic eye on both the Planning Brief which seeks to retain it, general planning policies, and what the owners want to do.  Does the fact the Esplanade would be spared increased traffic, parking and numbers of residents from a newbuild block of flats there influence your thinking?  This would be a single family dwelling (albeit suitable for conversion, no doubt).  It may WELL influence the planning department’s thinking, given its desperate wish to get as many units of housing built as possible.  Does the replacement proposal offer something special to the Esplanade that is an over-riding consideration?


Overview of replacement Medina House proposal, looking southward

Overview of replacement Medina House proposal, looking southward

8.11.16….Well that was fast!  Seems to have gone live TODAY.  For orientation, please look first at the Planning Statement followed by the Design & Access StatementDesign & Access Pt 2, Design & Access Pt 3.
These two documents tell the application story and provide core details for this proposed five bedroom family home, including why the existing building should be demolished – summarised here:
1.  extensive fire damage throughout the second floor timber floor, with significant section reduction at some locations;
2.  the Dutch gable is leaning outwards by c300 mm, highlighting a disengagement of the gable wall from the lateral stability system;
3.  the facade is in poor condition with several cracks, some severe, and bricks exposed. In some places, the mortar joint has disintegrated and the bricks are free to move;
4.  the brick arches to the eastern elevation have suffered from movement and are currently infilled with blockwork to support them;
5.  several structural elements of the second floor timber deck and the roof frame have been cut and/or removed. The bearing timber boarding, for example, has been removed and currently the floor is only supported by thin ceiling joists which are not suitable for residential loads. One central vertical brace of the central roof truss has been cut out;
6.  the second floor joists are not supported on the masonry walls but on a light timber stud lining frame which is unlikely to be capable of taking floor live loads;
7.  the first floor steel joists appear to be suffering from substantial corrosion leading to spalling of the clay block and the wide cracks in the deck soffit;
8.  water penetration in many locations throughout the building are causing humidity tracks and moisture ingress;
9.  many of the concrete elements are in poor condition, especially at the ground slab, which was formerly the swimming pool and was subsequently exposed to the elements;
10.  the timber staircase is not protected against fire; and the services are beyond repair
Please note the list of neighbour consultees, as shown online today, is a disgrace, not acknowledging Victoria Cottages or Sussex Road residents except for the two addresses directly adjacent to the north elevation of Medina House – and one of these, 3 Victoria Cottages, was bought by Taghan and is part of the overall site acquisition.  Medina House and the courtyard area (2 plots) were BOTH individually lettered.  So three neighbour consultation letters to the actual applicant/development addresses and none to the residents who stand to be impacted.  A saveHOVE comment about this has been submitted with a request that Sussex Road and Victoria Cottages residents be lettered and given neighbour consulation numbers.  Most of Bath Court seems to have been lettered, and that’s it, along with Marrocco.

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Concerned with planning, development and the conservation of historic Hove, we actively seek to prevent inappropriate, negligent and abusive redevelopments!
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