Brighton Marina planning inquiry opens

Posted On 03 Nov 2009 at 2:57 pm

The Brighton Marina planning inquiry started this morning.

A government-appointed planning inspector will decide whether the developer Explore Living and its business partner X-Leisure should be allowed to build nearly 1,300 flats at the Marina.

The inquiry is open to the public and is being held at the Brighton Centre in the East Wing.

The hearings are into a planning application which was turned down by Brighton and Hove City Council last December. It also seeks permission for shops and other buildings.

Spacewords Brighton

The council has a section of its website dedicated to this application and the inquiry here.

The tallest building will be 28 storeys high, angering local residents as it is above the height of the cliff top.

The site is at the western end of the Marina and the scheme would mean the demolition of the Asda superstore and petrol station, McDonald’s and part of the multi-storey car park.

Dozens of residents turned out to hear the opening statements. Some of them also registered to speak.

One person who is registered to give evidence is John Gummer, the Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal.

Brighton and Hove Tories are angry that he is to give evidence on behalf of Explore Living, the housebuilding division of construction company Laing O’Rourke.

This is not the first intervention in this case by Mr Gummer, 69, who is chairman of the environmental consultancy Sancroft International, which acts for Laing O’Rourke. Mr Gummer is also a former Environment Secretary (the minister in charge of planning issues).

Among the groups opposing the scheme are Save Brighton, Brighton Marina Residents’ Association, Marine Gate Action Group and the Kemp Town Society.

Save Brighton, with more than 600 members and led by local resident Brian Simpson, called the scheme inappropriate, ill-considered and unsightly. Save Brighton’s written evidence can be found here.

The inquiry is due to run until December 9 and a report will be sent to the government minister John Denham at the end of next February. Mr Denham, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, will make his decision based on the report’s recommendations, although no date for this has yet been given.

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