22.10.18…..On 19/20 September, Moda Planning held a public exhibition of their longstanding plans for the Sackville Trading Estate – upstairs in the Honeycroft Nursery premises fronting Sackville Road, on the edge of the Clarendon & Ellen Estate. I do wonder though how many people knew about it and what this exhibition looked to achieve.
It is now customary ahead of submitting applications to go through one of these “consultation” exercises and to add a document about it to the application submission. This, however, felt more like a PR exercise for Moda Planning and Mayfield (putting a leaseholder occupied sheltered housing block at the northern end).
Whilst heights and shapes, access and egress were blocked out, there was a complete absence of architectural detail and, no, they are not going for outline consent, they will apply for full planning without offering architecture views to the public in any form of consultation first.
They have felt obliged to give space and influence instead to the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum Committee – which is without standing to do anything except put a Neighbourhood Plan to a public referendum which, if accepted, would sit beneath the City Plan as something to take into consideration and no more. After six years…..nada. Until this happens and it is publicly accepted by a public vote, they have no authority to speak for, or advise on behalf of, the public. The Forum Committee has piggybacked every scheme being planned in DA6 over 6 years, looking for credibility from association and encouraging provision of many, many, MANY hundreds of units of housing for the DA6 part of the City Plan instead of the level of density the public would accept and silly heights.
To understand how brazenly they exceed authority, one needs only to look at the 1-3 Ellen Street Report to the Planning Committee and warning in it to councillors on the committee. Mike Gibson actually had the gall to cheat/speak as a supporter for that scheme’s developers at Planning on behalf of the Forum when he only had the right to speak as an individual. Here is the entry on printed pages 30/31 of the report
5.13 Neighbourhood Area
The site also lies within the Hove Station Neighbourhood Area. It is recognisedthe applicant has engaged the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum in this proposal an approach that is encouraged and welcomed. Whilst initial draftdocuments have been prepared, no ‘formal’ pre-submissiondraft (page 30)
5.132 Neighbourhood Plan has been published to date. Little weight can therefore be given to the Hove Station 2nd draft Neighbourhood Plan which in general seeks to endorse the proposal. It is important to note that the local planning authority has raised concerns that some of the policies in the 2nd draft Neighbour Plan conflict with strategic policy, on this basis it does not therefore meet the ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ basic conditions (continued on page 31)
Residents attending the Sackville exhibition will not have known ANY of this when noting the developer had given exhibition space to them as something like a development partner! And that is just SO WRONG.
The Moda/Mayfield Scheme
South of the access road a HUGE amount of rental housing south of the existing access from Sackville Road – 600 units in lots of up to 11 storey high rises is planned with the highest blocks trackside, to be managed by Moda who would buy the site from Coal Pensions if they get planning. One new pedestrian access point would be introduced just above the railway line area using a staircase. North of the existing access road from Sackville Rd would be the sheltered housing block (units for sale only). There is STILL no new vehicle egress point. All vehicle traffic is still into/out of Sackville Road’s existing point.
There is however one new move of huge value and import. But the developers had to PAY a huge sum of money to Network Rail just for a first meeting to discuss issues and possible solutions. The money would be well spent if consent is achieved and money for the engineering of a pedestrian bridge OVER the tracks from the development site’s easternmost point close to Fonthill Road can be achieved. It involves use of the remnant tracks into the Sackville site becoming a green walkway and walking through what is to become a parking lot area to get to it. It is the ONLY thing I feel able to celebrate at this point, apart from a potential wide pedestrian stairway down near the bridge up into the site.
This drawing does not show the current Conway Street occupants – it shows some idea of some possible future scheme in order to make their drawing look more attractive.
The scheme is just massive and high rises at trackside are inhumane and make of the tracks a canyon. They will loom up and upset residents on Conway Street and in the courtyard housing behind it which is trackside dead opposite. But note the indicated stairway access into the site bottom left corner of this elevation drawing below.
20.07.18…..In common with Christian churches, the Jewish faith is suffering falling numbers who attend and keep synagogues viable. The Planning Statement at 4.1 tells us that the proposed redevelopment of the New Church Road synagogue site “is aimed at retaining and attracting young families to the area to secure the future of the Jewish community in the City”. An over the odds number of 4 bed units are planned. Read the Application form for good detail – 103 bedrooms in 45 dwellings. The terrace at the back will contain all the 4 bed housing, with 1x 3 bed. This is where the family housing will mostly be, backing onto Carmel House.
For this post, I will consider the silent ‘partner’ in all this – adjacent St. Christopher’s school, which will be conjoined at the boundary with access – and take a brief look at the Planning Statement. You should look at the Design & Access links on the council website next and then pick at details. Click on app ID number above to access all documentation.
St. Christopher parents & local resident comments will be most important to planners – how will you be impacted?
The proposal – it’s a LOT!
The scheme has been reduced somewhat since it was first shown to a handful of residents from New Church Road, Pembroke Gardens and Westbourne Gardens at short notice before Christmas, 2017. The applicants have had pre-application advice and feedback from planning committee cllrs before submitting this final proposal and there have been further public consultation exhibits; but only on June 25th were the parents of existing adjacent St. Christopher’s pupils shown anything AT ALL and then with only a few days’ notice to attend!!! What do parents of new children starting in September know? Anything?
St. Christopher’s is offered use of two spare capacity class rooms in the new development which the Head and Board of Governors are welcoming. Only about a dozen parents made that meeting and they were alarmed. They pay about £10,000 a year for their small children to attend this prep school. They have a financial interest in what the school is doing by merging its interests with those of the synagogue developers next door and concerns about how the very long period of demolition and building will impact on their children’s education if this goes ahead. Once built a HUGE level of activity will be introduced to the site. Noise impact.
Over and above that, there is a party wall involved and St. Christopher’s would have a doorway entry into the synagogue site’s classrooms – effectively the development physically joins the two sites together. Given that this is an orthodox Jewish synagogue, there are grave concerns about security. One parent wonders if the school would become a target for anyone wanting to access the synagogue site through St. Christopher’s to make trouble for what is planned to be a substantial Jewish commune/compound of 45 homes, synagogue, meeting place, etc.
The aims are laudable and deliverable considering who the backer is. But have they bitten off more than the area can chew? The freeholders for St. Christopher’s are believed to have engaged a Planning Consultant to deal with their application response. Have contracts been drawn up with agreed detail for how these two sites will operate in tandem so that schmoozy promises about sharing classrooms is a commitment? Has the school Head really looked into likely impact and whether it could affect numbers sending their children to this prep school in future? The character of the existing school WILL change! It is a consideration.
The ambitious plans for the site are rather wonderful in some ways, but possibly for a bigger site to be at its best – a 300 capacity social hall, situated adjacent the new synagogue, was touted at the parents’ meeting as a place where concerts could be held which is a nice prospect…but in the middle of a strictly residential area? Where do people park? Presumably weddings would take place in it too….where do guests park? A lot of commercial activity is built into plans – and not just nursery school and housing capacity. There is no other commercial activity in this strictly residential corner of Hove. How noisy would they be arriving or leaving after an event in the social hall? People chatter….laugh….and shout. And neighbours would be disturbed to the same level as in a city centre!
BIG COUNCIL FAIL HERE CONCERNING NOTIFICATION
Brighton & Hove City Council are making it very hard for the public to know about planning applications. NO NEIGHBOUR CONSULTATION LETTERS? AGAIN? The Planning Register does not even provide details of where site notices are posted for this! Such things tend to get pulled down or go where people may not ever pass to see them. They claim ward cllrs get notified and it is their responsibility to tell you. That is news to most cllrs by the way! They claim advertised applications are published in the Brighton & Hove Independent. so you can see them there. Problem is, they only put their print edition (with adverts) into Hove Library and in front of one Blatchington Road newsagent and nowhere else in Hove!!!! It is essentially a Brighton distributed paper. It is a major blow to resident rights that letters notifying and inviting comment are not being produced. To save money? No explanation!
So any of you reading this must spread the word! Here is who ARE consulted – 25 official consultees who are not residents, including counter terrorism police (never seen that before!):
page 2 of 3 on the planning register for consultee comments tab
At 5.38 of the Planning Statement it gives that there are just 57 car park spaces and 96 cycle spaces proposed for this redevelopment. If 300 people come to a social hall event, are they expected to arrive on foot? Or will they hunt locally for parking spaces? In theory, given this is an orthodox synagogue, people attending synagogue on the Sabbath will be walking and not driving (prohibited). But otherwise, for events? To visit? For the facilities? For deliveries?
At 5.43 the existence of a LOT of TPO protected trees is addressed. Only “most” are to be saved. This is a serious issue to look at and object to if it involves loss of any elms as St. Christopher was responsible for the area losing about 14 mature elms to disease after they were careless in storing wood that bred the killer beetles. All the trees are needed.
The 40% requirement is not going to be met. There is no firm commitment. They say this is a philanthropic project that will not generate any profit and is instead “under water”. But they want to provide SOME affordable housing and at 7.5 say they are in talks with the Jewish Housing Association to see what can be organised. Vague! They will have to provide the arithmetic and Planners may well require that the District Valuer decides – at the applicants’ expense. This is what policy is quoted as saying, at 5.20: “Policy CP20 seeks a provision of 40% on site affordable housing provision on sites of 15 or more (net) dwellings. The policy notes that this affordable housing target is subject to the costs relating to the development, in particular the financial viability of developing the site”.
I cannot get into greater analysis here, but would warn you that all comments must be in by mid August to be considered. Note how many bedrooms altogether this development will provide to judge the compound’s likely population (a lot more than 45!) and consider how many more people would be on site in the offices, work spaces, bookable hall, shul, cafe, etc. to judge how much activity is likely to be generated and for whose benefit. This WILL be a more or less exclusive religious compound.
14.07.18 I plead my fast reducing physical capacity (with apologies to those emailing for help) for this late post! And with little time left for responses to the application. You have until Tuesday, 17th to comment! But there are already a number of objections in to take it to committee. And I would assume that Cllr O’Quinn has asked for committee decision too.
Please note that you must register and log in to make an online comment. Although I got a reversal of the decision to stop allowing emailed comments, I have not tested email@example.com to see if it has actually been reinstated! It is useful to email if you have photographic evidence to give in support of your position.
The First thing is to read The Planning Statement (the front end). Then the Design & Access Statement and then go from there.
My comments are as follows:
Good stuff: I am pleased the trackside block was scrapped. I am pleased the density came down – though not far enough. I am pleased that there is a good level of affordable housing offered without quibble and battles and need for the District Valuer to be called in to decide what they can and cannot afford (so far).
Bad stuff: The heights still concern. And there is the question of why they could not have put in terraced housing with new little streets and private garden space?
In addition, the loss of the Goodwood GP practice meant an extreme amount of loading onto the Charter Medical Centre (which took their 10,000 list). Charter are maxed out! A further GP surgery is to close by Hove Station (northside) and that will result in a huge increase to the new Trinity surgery. There are 163 flats planned along with a big office space, but there are a total of 265 bedrooms so that is a LOT of new people (minimum) who will need to sign on with a GP. Where? Planners and councillors do not CARE. They ALWAYS just assume that they will be filtered off SOMEWHERE. Well they won’t.
There are 13 x 3 bed flats in the development and 86 x 2 bed flats. That means families. WHERE will their children go to school? St. Ann’s Well Gardens is nearby so that will be where they play.
Residents close by are alarmed by the intensified use of the area for dwellings and how that will impact on Davigdor Road and Cromwell Road. There are NO food shops anywhere nearby – just convenience stores (noted in the application even!). This will force people into cars and onto the roadways to get to food shops (or rely on internet food shopping and deliveries). BHCC are against adding food shops even whilst wanting masses of new dwellings in tight spots. They need to sort their heads out on that little issue of logic! And instead of an office block on site, consider a food shop which would benefit the wider area as well!!
No older or disabled person would be wise to consider living in Lyon Close unless shopping online. Direct bus transport to a supermarket is restricted to a number 5 bus to Blatchington Road and the Co-op or to the Denmark Villas Tesco Express. The walk to Tesco from Blatchington Rd is not quick or easy if carrying bags. Maybe in time Wickes will close and become a supermarket. I often wonder about that. But as it has a car park and there is another outlet there too, adding a food shop on the new development site would be compatible and wise.
Planning does not look enough at what is already missing in development hot spots over and above what impact new development is going to have.
There are 80 car park spaces planned (of which 8 disabled) and the usual huge number of cycle spaces – 188. Perhaps they consider that the Wickes car park will absorb the rest of the need! There are no restrictions on parking in it and it is generously sized.
Noise from the railway will need to be a consideration. Even though trackside buildings are no longer proposed, the site is going to be noisy when trains go through and windows are open. But many quite like the sound. And it is not a heavily used track area.
I have few hopes of height or density reducing any further. People will have their views about design. And impact can be reduced by using subtle tones and materias that fit in (with the Willett Estate mainly) rather than stand out screaming for attention. The development will mainly be visible from north of the railway lines.
In August 2017 I wrote up my consultation visit with the Crest Nicholson developers. The scheme has changed since then, but it is there for further reference.