Hove nursery saved from closure threat as planners reject building plan

Posted On 29 Apr 2011 at 1:35 am

Plans to build four flats above a children’s nursery in Hove have been rejected by councillors.

The scheme would have meant the closure of Poppies Childcare in West Way, Hangleton.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee turned down the scheme.

They overruled their officials’ advice which was to grant planning permission to Arif Essaji, who runs at a dental surgery from the same premises as Poppies.

Council repairs

Mr Essaji wanted to add a first floor to the single-storey building and create a couple of one-bedroom flats and a couple of two-bedroom flats.

He made similar applications twice in 2008 but both were refused.

He took them one of them to appeal and was turned down.

Mr Essaji, who has practised as a dentist in Hangleton since 1985, also wanted to extend the ground floor of the former doctors’ surgery and clinic.

Objected

It is now home to Poppies Childcare which, along with the neighbouring Hove Medical Centre and some local residents, objected to the plans.

Among the reasons given for objecting to the plan were that it would lead to a loss of light, a loss of privacy and that it would increase demand for parking.

The nursery would close during the building work with the loss of jobs and childcare places although the applicant hoped that a nursery would be viable when the work was completed.

Denise Cobb, Conservative councillor for Westbourne, expressed concern that the proposal could prove an obstacle to potential expansion plans for the neighbouring Hove Medical Centre.

She and her fellow councillors were advised that the doctors’ surgery had not set out any details or made an application to expand.

Any such application would have to be taken on its own merits, council lawyer Hilary Woodward said.

The possibility of an application would not be proper grounds for rejecting the application from Mr Essaji.

The committee voted six members in favour and six against, with the chairman, Councillor Lynda Hyde, using her casting vote to reject the scheme.

Those objecting cited the design, overlooking, sustainability and the lack of on-site parking spaces considering the pressure on parking already in the Grenadier shopping area.

* The former fancy dress shop in Queen’s Parade, Hangleton, is expected to become the office of a financial and professional services business. The council has granted permission to applicant Martin Thorpe to change the use of the premises, which are close to the Grenadier pub.

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