07.02.18…..With news today that the Greater Brighton Economic Board, Network Rail, Coast to Capital, et al have agreement about investing to solve problems in the Brighton to London railway line comes disappointment that it is so far “up-country”. The need to address local branch deficiencies and absences that would make a big difference to future prospects are not noticed or even acknowledged by these people. Given the HUGE amount of housing capacity and economic contribution central Govt demands of Brighton and Hove, this matters for infrastructure and future sustainability of the city….bigly.
Currently, a new development is planned for the Bingo Hall site up on Edward Street/Eastern Road over in Brighton. Beneath the Freshfield Industrial Estate is a terminus from the long-extinct Kemptown railway station with tracks in a tunnel, used these days for legal archive storage. Having a railway station THERE once again would open up transport links to the centre of the city and the residential eastern areas and free up the roads a bit. Underground re-engineering for a shuttle stop seems like sensible foresight to me – housing can go on top of it instead of instead of!
Over here in Hove, an attempt is in the pipeline to put a few thousand new residents between both sides of the Hove Station rail lines and Old Shoreham Road. But the streets and road network cannot in any way sustain that hit. The existing planning consent (already renewed once) is not going to be used for the Sackville Trading Estate (more’s the pity cause the architecture is nice and the scale of the plans reasonable). Instead, now that Coal Pensions owns all the land down to the railway lines, a massive 600 flats plan is set to go to pre-planning advice shortly. A 188 flats plan for Ellen Street below the lines was refused ONLY because of affordable housing shortfall numbers (extra reasons for refusal were lost because the Chair took the vote prematurely making it illegal to then add to Conditions). The local access/egress cannot cope with EITHER of these plans or the others waiting in the wings.
At the 600 flats exhibition I attended some while ago I suggested to people there that a Hove Station extension of platforms over to Sackville Road with a passenger access point there was essential to allow all the proposed plans to be sustainable and to take pressure off the Goldstone Villas access point to the Hove Station ticket office, machines and platforms. Hove Station is already mostly automated so a ticket machine access point in Sackville Road is by no means unreasonable.
The plans in hand call for housing right down to trackside. This is a mistake. Extended platforms over to Sackville Road with shops and offices on the north trackside would benefit both the railways and the area if the hell-bent intention to cram a few thousand people into the small and access-poor DA6 Hove Station area goes forward to actual builds along with eventual restructuring of the area north of the station, fronting Old Shoreham Road.
Hove Station is not currently fit for purpose where future plans for filling up Hove with many, many thousands of new residents (London commuters) is concerned. From King Alfred to DA6 and beyond Hove is a target now for a massive influx of people – because Brighton is already too full up and Hove is seen as roomy enough to take it. Hove Station MUST be enlarged, extended to Sackville Road, etc. to TAKE the hit.