Medina House is now owned by Polly Samson. Plans have been drawn up to demolish Medina House and erect a newbuild L-shaped house of white brick with a small courtyard at the front. Plans have been shown to various people in July 2016. Planning application to follow.
What has happened to Medina House is a despicable outrage. Sirus Taghan is an owner who has sought the demolition and redevelopment of this site with a series of inappropriate schemes over 15 years now.
Since buying it from the Council in the late 1990’s and getting a planning consent for conversion to flats with a newbuild house in the baths area by Victoria Cottages – which was never used – the magnificent Royal Doulton tiled baths area has been infilled with cement and the distinctive tiling largely lost, one way or another. Windows were bricked up. There have been squatters and even, with the owner’s blessing, a group of caravans on this old baths area which rendered the whole site a tragic, squalid, mess.
Old metal and furniture was seen being delivered to this nest of caravans – the worst, lowest conceivable level of traveller-type encampment. They were in there, 24/7, with no attention of substance from BHCC. Residents and Hove’s MP felt it surely constituted definition of a ‘dwelling’ or of running a business and one wonders why no council tax or business rates were applied.
Under pressure from saveHOVE and its Esplanade supporters, BHCC eventually ordered Taghan to unbrick the windows, reinstate glazing and otherwise tidy and make good. The last Enforcement date for completion was June 1st, 2012 and eventually deemed completed by BHCC even though ‘glazing’ was pretty peculiar (!).
Four articles on Medina house by ceramics expert, Amy Frankie Smith provide detail and background well worth reading: Amy’s website.
Medina House has never been entirely out of the sights of local historians and conservationists and Robert Nemeth wrote on Medina House for his Building Opinions column, here, in Latest Homes in January, 2011.
What is actually needed is compulsory purchase and restoration of the building. A new level of attention is now going to be organised within saveHOVE to try to get better Council attention focussed on this building. Medina House is on the Register of Buildings of Local Interest which isn’t Listed Status nationally but is status to be considered within the HE section of the Local Plan.
A spa, a boutique hotel, a community centre….many ideas have been mooted by residents for this much loved Victorian gem.
In summer 2012 saveHOVE raised a petition requesting that BHCC raise a Planning Brief. A draft brief was eventually raised but not without having to push hard for it. It was first presented at Planning on Wednesday, 8th August, 2012 PLANNING AT HOVE TOWN HALL
Petition of 321 signatures presented requesting that a Planning Brief be raised for Medina House (to spell out constraints and opportunities for the site which a planning application would have to address and comply with). Of the 3 options (noting, response in writing to petition organiser or prep of an officer’s report, Cllr Christopher Hawtree, Chair and ward cllr for Medina House, chose to merely “note” it. No reply or ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘we’ll think about it’ was given. Just a blank “noted” which indicates what?
Yes, we had an adventure. But after a lot of argy bargy we had a proper reply in September 2012 at Economic Development and Culture, the parent Committee above Planning. There we were promised a draft in late autumn. It came in the new year. And having now passed through the public consultation stage, we await its appearance on a further Economic Development and Culture Agenda for adoption.
Taghan is known to be working on yet another scheme at the moment that involves demolition of Medina House. He told the Argus it was 8 storeys in height. We could still lose this structurally sound building which is also the last saltwater bath left standing – certainly anywhere in the south.