Historic Hove site to be revamped after badger fears allayed

Posted On 25 Jul 2011 at 3:30 am

More changes are on the way at one of Hove’s most historic sites after planners gave permission for a revamp.

A single-storey exhibition hall can now be built at the Engineerium in The Droveway, Hove, and an underground exhibition area can be created below the existing car park.

Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee also approved a two-storey extension to the existing workshop on the site.

Glass walkways will link the new buildings which will provide 1,200 square metres of extra space.

The complex includes grade II and grade II* listed buildings.

They were due to be sold at auction five years ago along with the historic collection of working beam engine pumps and engineering exhibits.

They were bought by property developer Mike Holland who wanted to keep the collection together.

He has since been refurbishing the old buildings and looking at ways to make the Engineerium a viable visitor attraction.

Among the latest proposed changes to win planning permission are alterations to provide disabled access facilities, including ramps and a lift.

Mr Holland will also be allowed to fit solar panels on the roof of the new workshop.


Councillors were due to decide the application last month but put it on hold so that they could learn more about two badger setts on the site.

A council ecologist said that the main sett would not be disturbed by the revamp but a rarely used subsidiary sett would be lost.

In light of his reassurances, councillors granted permission for the changes subject to a “badger mitigation strategy” being prepared by a qualified badger consultant and approved by planning officials.

A report to councillors also said: “The applicant is reminded of their obligation to protect bats and slow worms during demolition and constructions works.

“If any bats and / or slow worms are found during demolition / construction then works should be stopped immediately and advice sought from Natural England.”

The Engineerium was originally a water pumping station built by the civil engineer Thomas Hawksley in 1866.

The Planning Committee chairman Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “We’ve had assurance from our expert that the badgers will withstand the temporary disturbance during building and the subsidiary sett was rarely used and not important to the group.

“These extensions should make this a much more viable museum.

“In turn that will contribute to the upkeep of an important historic building.”

Councillor Geoff Wells said: “If this developer hadn’t bought this place it would probably have fallen down by now.”

And Councillor Carol Theobald said: “This application will enhance this attraction for the city.”

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