Developer refused permission to demolish historic Hove baths and build tower block

Posted On 17 Dec 2010 at 1:12 pm

The owner of a historic building in Hove has been told that he is not allowed to demolish it.

Sirus Taghan has been refused permission to knock down Medina House in King’s Esplanade on Hove seafront.

He was also refused planning permission to put up a ten-storey building in its place.

The proposed tower block would have contained nine flats and a restaurant on the ground floor and first floor.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee were told that Medina House was the last surviving part of the Hove baths complex.

A report to the committee acknowledged that it was not a listed building but it was within the Cliftonville Conservation Area.

Mr Taghan, of Globe Homes, a property company based in Morley Street, Brighton, has tried to win planning permission for an even taller tower block in the past.

One was 18 storeys and another 16 storeys high.

He has owned the site since the 1990s and according to objectors “was once a beautiful historical building until a wall was demolished and squatters and caravans were allowed on the site”.

The wall was part of a side building which was demolished – with permission – in July 2000.

Medina House has been empty for the best part of 20 years although the report to councillors said: “Throughout the time in which the building has been vacant there appears to have been no serious attempts to market the building.

“While it is appreciated that the building is in need of repair … there is a concern the building has been allowed to deteriorate into its current condition.”

And it added: “There are no acceptable details for the redevelopment of this site.”

Councillors were also told that the proposed tower block was “excessively out of scale” and overbearing in relation to the modest-sized homes immediately behind it in Sussex Road and Victoria Cottages.

It would cause too much loss of light to the people living there.

And although there are other tall buildings along that stretch of the seafront, they overshadow open areas used for parking.

The council has received dozens of letters of objection but also some in support of the ten-storey proposal.

Supporters of the scheme said that the building would be well matched in height to surrounding buildings and the design was an improvement on the derelict Medina House.

However, Green councillor Amy Kennedy expressed concerns about the proposed design.

The 12-strong committee, made up of Conservatives, Greens and Labour councillors, voted unanimously against allowing Medina House to be demolished and against permitting the proposed tower block to be built.

  1. Clive Tring Reply

    A very welcome decision – well done planning ctte.

    Medina Baths aren’t listed because of the alterations that were made when it was used as offices. Even so, its cultural significance is undeniable and it is the only building with any historic associations in this section of seafront. Let’s hope that it can soon be returned to its former glory and to a worthhile and sustainable use.

  2. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    My dream is to see the existing Medina House and former baths area (walls still beautifully tiled) restored and converted into a classy, quiet, beachside boutique hotel. It would be the only hotel accommodation right on the beach area.

    When I mentioned it to the planning consultant who spoke for objectors at Planning Committee, her jaw dropped and she drew breath as she enthusiastically agreed. I’ve had this response on many occasions.

    It would not compete with Marocco next door, but would, perhaps, be complementary to it in some ways and if car-free, and people arrived on foot or in taxis, it would not generate a lot of traffic there.

    Restoration and conversion has near unanimous support amongst residents local to Medina House. Supporters of a tall building development there came mainly from further afield (Brighton, etc.)

    Is there a conservation-minded investor out there who might offer to take Medina House off Mr. Taghan’s hands? Someone who might like to turn Medina House into a burnished jewel of a boutique hotel?

  3. Leo Reply

    There was a black pigeon Medina`s house wall, like black magic i dont like it there
    Knock it down is just a ugly old building.
    Open your mind
    (A better new if its well regulated and approved by ppl, make sure new building quality, design and eco-suficiency are being met in a rigorous manner)
    You got a money making machine!

  4. Leo Reply

    I mean it was a graphite of a black pigeon
    God bless

  5. glenda Reply

    Lets hope this site is restored before it falls victim to another of Brighton’s mystery “accidental” fires…

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