Car wash threat to Grade 2 Listed Hove Station’s original Cliftonville entrance building

Listed Building Entry on Council website

 

19.1.18…..Perhaps the Planning Dept intends to register a separate application acknowledging that a Grade 2 Listed building and the setting of TWO separate Grade 2 Listed building are affected by the latest ambitions from Robbie Raggio concerning his car wash on Hove Station land between its Station Approach buildings and the petrol station.

But application BH2018/00070 was registered on 8th January, the day it was received, and only given to be in the Hove Station Conservation Area.  So I think they have overlooked something here.  And so has Robbie Raggio.  It is called a Heritage Statement.  And there isn’t one.  And there should be one.

What that man and his car wash have been allowed to do over the years on this site has been so sad.  The concrete horse watering trough in front of the Listed Cliftonville Station building itself was infilled with concrete and the identifying lettering on its street-side wall angle-ground OFF some years back now!  No permission sought.  None given to legally do it either that I know of – no Listed Planning consent for erasing a detail from the Listed Building curtilege.  No respect.
It has been impossible for pedestrians to use the pavement on the north side of Station Approach to reach Hove Station because of this car wash too because of the certainty of being sprayed along the way.  Where is the Stopping Up Order that took that pavement out of public use and gave it over to Robbie Raggio for his PRIVATE use?????!!!! And why no  protective screening to prevent spray splashing over vehicles approaching the petrol station entry point? The site is not suitable for a permanent facility to be occupying this space – whatever the business rates advantage for the council!
A look at the Planning Register indicates a consent was given in summer 2017 for a single canopy elsewhere on this Cliftonville Railway Station  forecourt site and guess what! Yup no bothering with Listed consent.  Asked for and got Conservation Area consent.

This kind of BHCC negligence is becoming a habit!!!!  Loss of Conservation Officers has contributed but it is a FACT that unless residents, societies and amenity groups pick up mistakes, officer may not!  Heritage is just not a priority concern for this council and its under-siege planning dept.  CAG reps have to brief each other these days and clearly someone has let the side down where Hove Station is concerned.  In lieu of serious internal consultee credibility on the Conservation front, BHCC needs to refer this application to Historic England and to the Railway Heritage Trust.  I have contacted the latter through their website.  Historic England would just tell BHCC to use policies and laws and not pay a lot of attention.

This application now proposes to further insult the setting of Hove’s original and very fine railway station building – originally a stop called Cliftonville – by oversailing various parts of this car wash with canopies.  The drawings submitted are vague and just crudely allude to a final shape.  Where are the CIG’s?  The Computer Generated Images to demonstrate how this latest intrusion is to impact on the setting of the Listed railway buildings in their own Conservation Area along with the exquisite and equally Listed Ralli Hall opposite.
The place for that  rough and ready car wash is perhaps within the petrol station area or somewhere totally else – not wedged in front of our fine, Listed, original mid 19th century Cliftonville railway station entrance building.  That carwash has elbowed, encroached and invaded far enough.  NO MORE!!!

Email Objections to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk

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Medina House – issues and concerns as Conditions are now discharged

19.1.18…..Mostly people only concern themselves with the pre-consent or refusal part of the planning process.  But most application consent come with a RAFT of Conditions which must be met either before construction can begin, while it is in progress, before occupancy….all sorts.  Medina House is no exception and because of tight access, sorting out logistics is going to be quite a job for the contractors.
There are 19 Conditions attached to the consent which are now in the process of being discharged.  Some will involve applications which require a public advertisement and responses.  Residents interests are at the heart of them and responses are in their interest.

Condition 7 has been agreed – appointment of a Contractor. This was BH2017/03390

Conditions 11 & 12 – BH2017/03160 – have been the subject of a live application for quite some time and new documents continue to be uploaded along with responses from residents and internal consultees.  Sadly, as evidenced by the formal internal consultee response online,the heritage team failed to notice that the CEMP (Construction & Environmental Management Plan) called for “total demolition of the site” without any reference whatsoever to retention and incorporation of the bespoke Royal Doulton tilework on the northeastern back wall section.

Sadly, too, the response from Neil Williams before Christmas, noting this, never found its way into the online list of responses!  Having alerted me, I put in a response pointing out the absence of reference which also did not appear online within the documents list.  So appeals to both the web master and the planning officer were made in order to get it UP. Happily, this was done and the officer, Liz Arnold, has been able to get an amended document from the applicants which make a passing reference (at least) to protection and retention of this back wall area of tilework which is to be retained and incorporated within the final newbuild house.

What remains missing, however, is HOW this is going to be effected.  What restoration work, what kind of measures will be put in place.  There is no detail.  David Vincent has found a specialist online that dealt with Victorian tiles in a hospital under demolition and it is clear specialist conservation attention will be needed!  Would Royal Doulton be able to help?  Amy Smith, the architectural terracotta maker who did a University Fellowship paper on the Medina House tiles was one of the group of us who went to the first consultation with the architects and she provided her card to the architect for just this moment.

Responses to this application for discharge of Conditions 11 and 12 are still needed and should mention the need for enhanced detail on HOW this section of wall and tilework is to be preserved.  The application remains live and in need of resident input concerning parking, access and egress for construction and supplies. Please LOOK at the CMP and don’t wail about problems afterwards.  Local knowledge can help the developer to get it right to minimise the problems and misery!

Email any objections to planning.comments@brighton-hove.gov.uk and avoid the online comments slit as responses there are sometimes disappearing into some black hole.

Here is the list of Conditions within the Decision Notice

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King Alfred redevelopment…..gone really quiet, huh?

19.1.18…..The rumour mill has its stories on this one.  But what are the observable facts about what is happening and to be expected?
By the end of 2017 a couple of significant moves had been made.  The Starr Trust parted company with its PR for this project, Bill Murray.  And it was not a happy parting by all accounts.
By the end of 2017 The Starr Trust and Crest Nicholson with Brighton & Hove City Council had approached a Government quango charged with providing cash for projects, and had applied for £10m for the developers, toward provision of the affordable housing element. Brighton & Hove City Council were already committed to providing £8m towards the redevelopment.  £18m is an awfully big contribution towards getting a new leisure centre which would also get the developers the standard 21% profit margin on a minimum of 560 flats, offices, retail….
Why 21%?  Apparently this is a standard figure which financiers of projects REQUIRE n order to providing funding.
The only place where any published information can be gleaned is in Agendas for the Tourism, Culture & Development Cttee – specifically, within the Major Projects Update item which appears in each mtg agenda.  For the November meeting there was discussion about items in it (see Minutes for item 34).
For the January meeting….just…(item 46) contents noted.
The name of the funding quango changed at the end of last year.  It is now the Housing Infrastructure Fund.   And from “early next year” understood widely to have meant mid-January, the update now gives February (as did Cllr Warren Morgan in a brief mention within his totally Brightoncentric Opinion piece for Brighton & Hove News today).  The rumour mill doubts that even February will fly for a decision on what has now become a glaringly obvious funding gap of consequence.
On the 22nd of August 2017 Cllr Robert Nemeth and saveHOVE’s Valerie Paynter were invited onto Latest TV’s ‘The Vote’ to discuss the King Alfred situation with host and former Green Cllr Geoffrey Bowden.  Some of the issues and problems attached to redeveloping the King Alfred were aired.  Here is the archived footage.  Have a watch of it over 22 minutes.
Those of us who were around for the Karis King Alfred bid will be nodding knowingly now….  How many times was it they went back to Policy & Resources for consent to keep on increasing the number of flats, in order to make the figures add up?  And did they?  The District Valuer never gave it more than ‘borderline viable’.
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George Street Hove – a Target area for Thieves

4.11.17…..In the run-up to Christmas the police usually put out a public appeal about burglary and theft dangers, but I wonder if they will this year.  They have begged the Government for help but instead their numbers are cut, resources witheld.  So, folks, the onus is more and more on US, isn’t it.
George Street has changed quite profoundly since pedestrianisation.   We’ve lost higher quality retail traders and gained coffee shops, boozers and betting shops.   We also have a lot of charity shops.
I was in Woolworths (now Peacocks) one day, not long after pedestrianisation, and the  manager was following me around in an agitated way.  It freaked me out, so I confronted him!  He relaxed and told me that since pedestrianisation, his shoplifting problem had increased by 25%.  The why of that is worth serious consideration, because it is an ongoing problem in the area.
I have myself had two purse thefts from my handbag and right under my nose since George Street was pedestrianised and began to attract non-locals to the area…and not to come and buy things either.
On the 1st of November I had my purse stolen, out of my bag, which was itself under the seat of my walking aid!  In George Street.  My thief or thieves learned a lot about me from my purse contents – like that I have a transplant, what drugs I have to swallow, who my doctors are, where I bank & shop and that I am disabled and need taxis to get about.   And they know what goes into my bank account too (I had just been there and got cash and a mini-statement).  Wow.  Quite a haul.
My only other purse theft (ever) was at Hove Library 12-15 years ago when I was using their  computers.  My bag was on the floor with my foot on it.  And I remember the crazed look on a fellow’s face as he stood in the doorway leering at me.  And I saw that same look a week or so later (different bag) when I was back in the library and he was suddenly beside me, leaning forward, staring openly at the bag sitting by the printer with me watching him.  So I assumed he was my thief!  He looked like he had a challenge in front of him that gave him a big kick.  It was extraordinary.  But he knew to leave this one and chuckled off.

“We lose a lot in here”

But back to George Street!  I know where my purse got taken this week because it was the only opportunity.  The British Heart Foundation charity shop is hard to get round with a walking aid.  There is NO space between the crammed together island rails and there are NO lines of sight through it all.  And when I went to pay for a book and CD and found I had no purse, the lady behind the counter at the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop told me she’d had her purse taken in Sainsbury and added “we lose a lot in here”.  Clothes can be whipped off rails unseen in there and I think my purse was taken by an unseen hand sliding between the seat of my walking aid and the hanging bag under it.  Piece of cake to do it unseen in that overstuffed shop.
My purse was inside my handbag which was inside the underseat bag. It took serious skill to take it. The walker is either in front of me or I am sat on it almost continually.  A professional thief?  If the zip on the handbag was open, it would have possible for them to just put a hand between the seat and underseat bag and whip it out, totally unseen.  There seemed to be an uncommon number of people present at the time, rifling rails but looking at me which I noticed but did not think about.  I was jostled as I reached to hand a pair of velvet trousers to an assistant to re-hang.  Was that when it happened?  The mind runs and re-runs and then thinks about how THEY think.

Busy shops, cash points and bank users

I had just been to the bank.  We are often warned to be careful of thieves at cashpoints arn’t we?  Well banks too!!  Thieves won’t want to waste their time taking risks for near empty wallets and purses, do they!  I am a dinosaur and more about cash than cards and it cost me all but about £20 of an entire week’s pension on this occasion.  A friend says he never carries cash anymore, always uses a card.  But I need to carry cash for my necessary taxis and never acquired a cards-for-everything mindset.  I may have to rethink that.  And not have a single purse for coins, notes, debit and loyalty cards, etc.  Was I targetted and followed?  Was there a gang of them?
But BACK to why George Street and the area ARE targetted.
There are a LOT of charity shops, run by volunteers, with no security tags or CCTV.  Theft of goods from them is RIFE.  Are they the magnet that brings thieves to the area?  How many thieves ARE there?  I once watched a man (glaze-eyed) take a shirt into the changing room of the previous Martlets shop in Blatchington Rd.  It was a gorgeous linen thing I fancied trying on.  I waited to see if he was going to have it.  I did not notice him slip out of the changing room or shop (leaving the changing room curtain closed) – but he did so, and he took that shirt.
Tis the season, the police have long told us….not just for Christmas, but for thieves. You are warned.  And so am I.  I have struggled to feel well this week.  Mourn the loss of my green leather purse with its brown leather tassle on the zipper….a ridiculous amount.  But WHAT strategies can we possibly deploy to safeguard purses and wallets – apart from avoiding overstuffed insecure shops and crowded places……even online is a den of thieves now….
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Crest Nicholson propose 150 plus flats – Lyon Close nr Wickes

Thursday, 24th August saw Crest Nicholson host a day of meetings to seek preliminary feedback about their plans to redevelop land at Lyon Close in Hove, to provide over 150 flats.  Since being chosen for King Alfred they have been having a nose around Hove and begun to look to develop in the city – not having done so before.  They have just had Mile Oak refused…..  Now comes this one!
The Lyon Close site is very private, tucked away behind Davigdor Road’s Montefiore Hospital and Hyde Housing’s offices-consented-for-redevelopment site.  Lyon Close is part of the Peacock Industrial Estate east of Wickes and the new carpet shop that recently replaced Staples on Davigdor Road. South of the site are the Hyde Housing offices, due for redevelopment into flats and the Montefiore orthopaedic hospital, each fronting Davigdor Road.

The clip is from http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=528425&Y=105310&A=Y&Z=110
Those of us invited to come along, including ward cllr Jackie O’Quinn, were taken through their thinking to date, shown one layout design which the Design Review Panel did not like and a revised option.  They have had one session of pre-planning advice with BHCC planning officers and will shortly have another with intention to submit a planning application just before Christmas.  Cllr O’Quinn arrived while I was there and so I record some of her feedback to Crest Nicholson & Saville representatives (doing the application), along with my own.
Cllr O’Quinn knows the issues and constraints of dealing with Railtrack who have an Easement over this site and she is very familiar with all the battles residents have had over tree and vegetation clearances along the railway Cut in this area.  How the railway edge of this site is to be handled was much discussed, both by her and myself, with the Crest, Saville, PR team hosting this pre-design consultation meeting.
Their first layout proposal was for 4x6storey, flat roofed blocks with low-rise between them.  The Design Review Team had been negative about this, suggesting staggered heights of buildings.  Regrettably  that Panel also had uninformed suggestions of creating a sense of community here.  Both Cllr O’Quinn and myself disabused them of THAT notion being valid.  Blocks of flats do not do that.  In fact, in my experience of living in one, a heightened requirement for personal privacy dominates in a very self-protective way.
HEIGHT ISSUE
So, in response to the Design Review Panel’s feedback, the new layout of several buildings has staggered heights, including one 7 storey and one 9 storey.  It was one of only two times I reacted with an adamant “NO!”.  Whilst I quoted the Tall Building Policy (which the Saville’s rep thought negotiable & allowable!!!!), Cllr O’Quinn warned about the vociferous response to height that they could expect from the well-heeled in big houses on the opposite side of the railway Cut and surrounding streets who would go mad.  We both drew the line at 6 storeys MAX!
LAYOUT ISSUE
The revised layout had these staggered buildings but one long one right along the railway line border.  No prizes for guessing that THIS would be the affordable housing element – proposed to be a full 40% for this scheme.  Bang on top of the noise of railway traffic.  It’s not on. It’s cruelty housing and I said so.  The Crest representative defence of it was a worry.  It was my second adamant “NO!”
LANDSCAPING AND RAILTRACK ISSUES!
The debate about how to site the housing element of the scheme and whether or how much landscaping can go along the trackside area is absolutely central to how this is going to work or fail.  I suggested  that before any scheme is designed even, they need to sit down with Railtrack and work out what will and will not be cooperatively agreed by them.
Both Cllr O’Quinn and myself banged the gong for extensive greening of this site.  Cllr O’Quinn said that part of Hove was in need of more greening (thinking no doubt of the other side of the railway cut) and it would help to camouflage the buildings which people would not want to look at.  I pleaded for noise buffering tall plantings along the boundary with the Railtrack bit – evergreen and shallow-rooting perhaps, to avoid the “leaves on the line” or embankment roots and shoots issue that would get Railtrack objecting to the scheme.  Whilst it is no longer a railway siding, they RETAIN Easement rights over how the entire site is used!!!  So, really, NOTHING can go there until, and unless, they deign to give Crest some time and cooperation.  Which so far, they have not.
Noise buffering with plantings is how the length of our railway lines have been treated everywhere and there HAS to be a way to make this site less noisy when trains roar past at night and at dawn. And just triple glazing with heavy duty glass will not be a way to deal with the noise.  When trickle vents are open, noise roars through the ones where I live.  And in summer, windows need to be openable.
DECONTAMINATION ISSUE
Within the paperwork brought to the meeting was a fabulous old photo of the site from its railway siding days.  The Sackville Trading Estate was also a railway siding and goods yard at one time.  And it has ongoing decontamination issues which were identified in planning applications a few years ago now.  This site will also have to be closely looked at for the same things.  And it will affect whether or not underground parking can be provided.  If extensive decontamination is required the area will just be capped and there would be no digging into it for underground parking basements.
PARKING ISSUE
Cllr O’Quinn brought up parking first and foremost.  I know from years of planning apps and planning committees that this is a major issue.  If no basement is possible….they have a problem.  All agree that car club provision would be wanted for the new estate.  I warned them the Tories are uber-keen about parking provision on a 1:1 basis!  One car space per flat.   Unlikely here!
I warned there is no significant food shopping nearby which would mean getting in cars or needing delivery space for food bought online.
DESIGN and NUMBER OF FLATS
One brick elevation drawing in the stack  seemed suggestive only of appearance, but had an interesting internal balcony treatment  lopping off a right angle corner.  Both myself and Cllr O’Quinn spoke about proximity of Hove Station making this an attractive potential commuter flats site.  I wondered about family housing, but it was not thought right for this site.  I still think BHCC might look to get some 3 and 4 bed flats here, though.
PLANNING POLICY ISSUE
The site is on the Peacock Industrial Estate, and before that it was a railway siding.  An element of employment space is proposed to be incorporated in the scheme to replace the small amount of employment the present warehouses can provide.  How will BHCC feel about losing the entire site as employment-led?
INFRASTRUCTURE
In the last year or two the loss of GP surgeries became a serious issue for the city.  Across the road from this proposed redevelopment is the Charter Medical Centre which agreed to take over the 10,000 list when the Cromwell Road practice was forcibly closed by the authorities.  It CANNOT take on residents from this site too, on top of who will go into whatever Hyde eventually builds in front of this site (and another building here is going to be converted to flats too!!).  Scary, huh?  This too was brought up and discussed.  With sad faces.
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