01.02.18…..Today Brighton & Hove News has been first up to announce that the application for £10m towards funding the affordable housing element of the Starr Trust/Crest Nicholson scheme has been not only successful, but increased to £15m. This grant is from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and is meant to defray costs of the affordable housing element (20%). The £8m BHCC is contributing is to defray costs of building the leisure centre. That makes £23m of public money so far agreed to and being thrown at the redevelopment. That is quite some blessing on its prospects. Time to admit, I put it to you, that this is not about getting a new leisure centre. It is about creating a revenue stream for Brighton & Hove City Council in the form of mountainous levels of council tax from a mountain of flats that will overwhelm the seafront, the Esplanade colony, Hove, and just visually roar its vastness over the nearby Listed buildings and genteel ambience.
The article from Frank le Duc hints at significant changes to the scale of the scheme as compared with the scheme that won the gig. Read what I wrote in 2016 after lunching with Rob Starr and his then PR Bill Murray. I was allowed to say just a few things and not provide photos. Though I took photos of a few details. Then the tallest element was 18 storeys, and planned to go in the far westernmost corner on the seafront, behind the leisure centre. Now, this news today suggests “up to 20 storeys”. And 560 flats is now “between 580 and 660 flats”.
Let nobody forget that the Karis planning consent in February 2007 set a precedent. I don’t suppose they’ll stop at 660 flats, do you? And they get £23m towards building costs. Joke’s on all you Londoners who have recently invested in your move to genteel Hove. It is now set fair for changes that will put a level of congestion and overactivity, competition for access to vital bits of infrastructure and strain on resources into the area to make you blench.
The scheme has NOTHING for visitors along the prom, facing the sea. We need something like a transplanted Pavilion Gardens sweep of dozens of tables with conservatory doors round it for winter to provide a place to wine, dine, take tea and watch the sea do its thing. Some still hanker after an Olympic size swimming pool and Olympic level events there (but where would parking go?).
Here is the announcement from the Brighton & Hove City Council.