Portzed architect spells out vision to Regency Society lecture in Brighton

Posted On 13 Jan 2012 at 11:11 pm

The architect behind a controversial project on the edge of Shoreham Harbour spelt out his vision at a Regency Society lecture in Brighton on Wednesday evening (11 January).

Bill Dunster, one of two architects involved in designing Portzed, explained the project’s green credentials to an audience of more than a hundred people.

Mr Dunster praised the developer Colin Brace, of Boho Green, for resisting the temptation to apply to build a solid block like the one approved for the site next door.

He said that Mr Brace had instead opted for six less dense blocks adding: “Planning permission has already been granted for a three-and-a-half storey slab.

“We wanted to build something that allowed views through to the open horizon.

“It would have been very easy to come up with a continuation of the scheme that has already been granted permission to the east and block all views of the harbour forever.

“Colin Brace is to be congratulated for not doing that.”

He said that the lower density and the exacting environmental standards would cost the developer money and reduce potential profits.

The scheme has, though, attracted opposition from people living in Kingsway and the roads behind.

Those who live closest to the site fear that the size and scale of the scheme will mean a loss of sunlight and a loss of their views.

Members of the Kingsway And West Hove Residents Association (KAWHRA) attended the meeting at City College Brighton and Hove in Pelham Street, Brighton, and some asked questions.

Regency Society chair Mary McKean said, when introducing Mr Dunster, that KAWHRA had reiterated before the meeting that it opposed the Portzed scheme – not “zero energy development”. The “zed” in Portzed stands for zero energy development.

Mr Dunster conceded: “There will be a 5 per cent reduction in sun hours … but it will be unnoticeable in terms of solar generation.”

He also said that people who lived in the 1930s houses typical of the area would get a better return from insulating their homes rather than installing solar panels.

He defended the original design, with its arrays of helical wind turbines, although these have been dropped after opposition. But he said that he hoped that they might be added at a later date.

Mr Dunster, who is Professor of Zero Carbon Urbanism at University College London, said: “We have to futureproof buildings. We try to make them simple and make them last a very long time.”

He explained many of the technical features that would enable Portzed to achieve Code 6 status judged against the Code for Sustainable Homes – even without wind turbines.

These included solar thermal collectors, passive heat recovery ventilation systems, photovoltaic cells, cladding and small biomass combined heat and power units.

He talked about using thermal physics and aerodynamic design principles.

He said: “Portzed is trying to show how the Code for Sustainable Homes can work.

“We can make Code 6 homes and even make them desirable so that local authorities can demand them without developers and architects foaming at the mouth.”

The code is due to become compulsory in 2016 but he was concerned that ministers might put back the deadline.

He raised another laugh – even among his opponents – when he talked about sustainable living and said: “Probably the best thing you can do is to have a vegetarian lifestyle, eating predominantly locally grown produce and go and buy your food on a bicycle with a rucksack.”

More contentiously he said: “Walking along Kingsway is a rather depressing experience.

He praised the aesthetics of the Portzed design, developed with local architect Alan Phillips.

Mr Dunster also said: “It’s very important if someone is developing their land that they should provide homes for a lot of people.”

Portzed would provide 67 homes, he said, some of them available for social housing, as well as shops and office space. Electric-powered bicycles would be made at the site.

The development is expected to create dozens of permanent jobs on top of several dozen during the construction phase.

It also expected to be the first phase of related developments at the port – in terms of buildings and employment opportunities – and as such was a vital scheme.

A member of Hove Civic Society spoke up in favour of the project while Valerie Paynter, of Save Hove, spoke about alternative ideas to improve access to the harbour.

One of the biggest constraints to development there has been the poor access for transport leaving and entering the harbour area.

The Portzed planning application was submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council over a year ago.

In the autumn the council’s Planning Committee was told that they were due to discuss the application at a coming meeting.

That date has passed and no alternative date for a decision has been made public.

In the meantime, behind the scenes talks are still taking place.

And this week some insiders suggested that councillors would reach a verdict within six to eight weeks.

  1. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    The planning consent already granted for a three-storey, slab-style chunk is not for the Portzed site, but for the site next door. I say this in case anyone gets the wrong impression reading the article.

    The Portzed planning application contains no computer images that indicate how the development would visually impact if you were in a car driving towards it, either along the Kingsway or within Basin Road North. The cliff-face impact-view is not provided.

    The computer-generated view in the article is composed from a roughly 3rd storey, mid-air middle distance vantage point. This kind of artwork trick minimises the size and impact difference between the blocks and the houses opposite and misleads viewers.

    It is my judgment that the Portzed proposal has come too soon and for the wrong site. And it potentially CONFLICTS with and restricts development between itself and the back of Seaside Villas at that end of the Port. Indeed the Port has said in its consultation response that it worries about this. Should future development be as high, to the south, most of the solar panels would lose solar access and clear wind off the sea too.

    The developer, Colin Brace, and myself went to see MP, Mike Weatherley to discuss it all with him before Christmas and to request his help.

    The Port of Shoreham is in dire and clear need of regeneration if it is to have a viable future. Its owners know this which is why a Shoreham Port Masterplan to reconfigure it and to add housing/mixed development to it was initiated some 10 years ago. The possible housing element was reduced from 10,000 (!) to about 400 around the time the Coalition Government succeeded the Labour government, thank God.

    The Shoreham Port Masterplan has been discussed for over 10 years and remains locked in stalemate over the problem of access and egress along with quite WHERE any housing should go.

    The end-water area adjacent to Hove Lagoon is one of the Masterplan option areas for providing new housing. This Mackley Wharf area is in the ownership of 3 people. Above and on the edge of it sits the proposed Portzed development area – between Basin Road North and high above, Kingsway.

    Re: any redevelopment of Mackley Wharf, Colin has told me that the 3 owners have said “Let’s see how you get on first” but I think a consortium putting a single, coherent development from the rear of the Seaside Villas Western Esplanade enclave, below Basin Road South, over to and including the proposed Portzed site – and facing Hove Lagoon would provide the mediating development between the Lagoon and Port business that is wanted and needed. Colin Brace is unfairly/unwisely out on a limb right now.

    To achieve such a development, Wharf Road needs to be taken out of use for Port access and used soley for Lagoon, Western Esplanade and new development access. Or emergencies.

    What I suggested at the lecture and(with Colin)to Mike Weatherley is the need for central government money to help put a new access point from a more westerly part of the Kingsway into the port which would mean slinging a short bridge over the canal to separate off the ‘mediating development’ area and provide clean, easy and safe lorry access in a neat sweep off the Kingsway onto the Port area.

    Government wants Brighton & Hove to become a ‘Diamond Hub’ as part of overall economic strategy for the south of England and if it is serious about that, it needs to help with the Port problem.

    At the Regency Society Lecture I used Bill Dunster’s satellite image to illustrate this suggestion and to further suggest – as was done to Colin privately and with Mike Weatherley – that a deal with the Port needs to be done that sees this entirely idealistic and worthwhile Portzed project re-sited on the Western Esplanade, west of the Seaside Villas enclave and on stilts.

    As those existing residents there know and Hove Lagoon illustrates, there is a tidal flooding reality in that spot which must be taken into design consideration.

    The Portzed application is also in stalemate and cannot be given consent in its present form. Bill Dunster is obviously distressed by this as is Colin Brace. But there is no data to support wind turbine claims for this design. IT IS AN EXPERIMENT. IT IS BESPOKE.

    The applicants need to withdraw this application and come back when ommissions and difficulties have been sorted and they are in a position to put this development inside the Port, elsewhere.

    The building design maximises wind between the towers so cannot be allowed without wind capture from turbines. Removing the turbines means bizarre wind problems. Dunster and Brace are caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Even a single storey development opposite would remove the port view for residents and up to three storeys would be totally unblockable in law. This must be accepted by residents, alas.

    Everyone needs to help sort out the Masterplan first of all, along with port access changes, working with residents to get the best overall result. Portzed, on the Kingsway isn’t it and the application should be withdrawn.

  2. Jane Galvin Reply

    I live right opposite the PortZED site.

    A few members of the residents association did attend, but most of us did not feel that this was the right forum to argue all our many objections. We went to listen to what Bill Dunster had to say, rather than to disrupt the lecture.

    We felt that Bill Dunster’s lecture was very one-sided and misleading on a number of points.

    He omitted to show any pictures indicating the relationship in scale of his buildings to the existing houses.

    He did not mention why, when they designed their buildings to make use of solar energy, they failed to take into account the loss of this same solar energy from the existing houses.

    He said that houses opposite would have only a 5% reduction in sunlight hours. This figure could only be true if you looked at the figures for the year as a whole, and also included houses which are not directly opposite. The developers’ own sunlight report says that Kingsway houses “will sustain noticeable reductions in sunlight”. The developers’ shadow plots show that we will be in shadow for 11 weeks of the year, which we think is bad enough. Our own scale model and solar graphs show that this sunlight loss is underestimated by the developers. We believe that the loss of winter sunlight will be for over 17 weeks rather than 11.

    It is also untrue to say that the effect on solar generation will be unnoticeable. My family’s own solar panels can currently generate 5.5 kWh on a sunny day in mid-winter. This means we have enough free electricity to run our dishwasher and washing-machine consecutively, power up the laptop, then do a bit of hoovering and still feed some electricity back into the grid! If PortZED is built, these panels will be overshadowed throughout the winter. Bill Dunster had the cheek to say that we shouldn’t be putting up our own solar panels but should be insulating our houses better instead! How does he know what insulation we have on our houses?

    It is misleading to say that the turbines have been dropped after opposition. The application currently under consideration by the council includes the wind turbines. If the developers now want to drop them, they have to put in a new application, as this would be a substantially different design, requiring further technical reports.

    Bill Dunster said also that Kingsway was dirty. The only dirty part of Kingsway is where the developers have let their bushes get overgrown so that they overhang the fence. People then drop rubbish underneath them which doesn’t get swept up.

    He did not mention that because the flats will be so close to the A259 (a few feet away), with juggernauts sometimes thundering by in the early hours of the morning, the developers are proposing to have “unopenable” windows.

    He also failed to mention the complete lack of consultation with local residents prior to the planning application. The developers have tried their best all along to ignore us – we are seen as an inconvenience.

    No-one should make their mind up about this scheme without actually visiting the site and nearby houses to have a look for themselves.

  3. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    I need to clarify the comment from Jane….! Nobody disrupted the lecture at any point. At all. There was a period allocated at the end for questions from the floor – the first of which I mention in my post aboe – and a small amount of debate.

    There was no activity that could be construed as disruption. It was a well-behaved event.

  4. Jackie Corbett Reply

    The Regency Society should not be swayed by the “Eco” side of the information given to them at this lecture by Bill Dunster. Of course I would also be impressed with statistics and information that proposes an eco development, albeit without the wind turbines now.Although this proposal has not been made – as the proposal still stands with having the wind turbines until a new proposal is provided.

    Please go to see this Kingsway area (between the pub and the Pet shop) and do not make your decisions and comments based on a lecture. The development is over twice the size of lamp posts on the south side of the Kingsway. Is this being eco friendly – overshadowing average sized houses opposite…wrong plan – wrong place.

    Apart from this,the development is being proposed in and area where the schooling is full so where would the children go to school.. not very eco having to go so far afield and use cars or buses because they will not be able to walk to local schools.These flats are right next to the road-no garden etc in front.No opening windows – mmmmm lovely! Not.

    Portzed is being built in the wrong area.Do not comment about this site and the plans before you actually go and see for yourself how inappropriate the position is for over 60 flats.Take a proposed Portzed picture plan with you..Then paste your comment on this site.
    Jackie Corbett
    Roman Road Hove

  5. Mrs R M Knox-Peebles Reply

    I agree with Valerie that this development should be part of the overall regeneration of the port area. Building such an out of scale (to the neighbourhood)is a mistake – whereas it might be perfect somewhere else as part of a plan. It is comparatively high rise in an area that is charmingly and resolutely low-rise. I am also nervous about the wind turbines (noise & danger) the horror of being so close to such a road especially if have children and the increase in traffic (heaven know what it will be like while the development is being built). However, I do like the idea of it on the beach to the West of Western Esplanade – it would look rather fine there (like a beached liner) and the residents would have a wonderful view and the beach and the sun without depriving anyone else.

  6. Chris W Reply

    I also attended the lecture and I found it incredibly informative and comforting that the architect behind the scheme has carried out an extensive amount of research and has experience in this type of development. I live quite close to this development so it is important for me to understand what is being proposed.

    I am mystified why Jane Galvin on one hand says the architect failed to mention the effect of the loss of solar energy on the houses opposite and then in the following paragraph she confirms the architect actually did speak about a 5% reduction and effect on the solar panels. It appears she is confused and even the reporter confirms this.

    She also seems to be confusing direct sunlight with light in general. Just because the sun might occasionally drop behind the new buildings in the winter months this doesn’t mean there will be no light at all. Very few houses including my own are lucky enough to benefit from direct sunlight in the winter months purely because the sun angle is so low in the sky. If the rest of Brighton can manage than I cannot see why people living on the Kingsway need to have special consideration.

    Solar panels do not need direct sunlight to work otherwise in this country they would do nothing on a cloudy day and we have quite a lot of them. I do feel these people are just trying to create a problem when there is no problem. The question is surely we must make sure that the existing houses opposite have an adequate amount of sunlight not the maximum amount. The qualified assessor confirms that they will still have almost 3 times the minimum level of light which they need. This is probably a lot more than either myself or most of the other residents of Brighton have , how much more do they expect? If they have been having an unfair share up till now then this is something which cannot be allowed to continue and prevent other people developing their land, that is just not fair. They should consider their own posters which talk about stealing sunlight and question whether that is what they are trying to do to the developers.

    Valerie speaks of moving the development elsewhere this obviously cannot be done it is a privately owned piece of land and that land owner does not own the rest of the port and is quite entitled to develop their own land effectively. We need to encourage sustainable and taller buildings so that we do not have to build on how valuable greenbelt which we all want to protect not just the view of a few privileged Kingsway residents.

    As to the comments about lack of gardens this lady has not even looked at the plans where you can see every flat has a balcony which is more than most flats in Brighton have. As far as I am aware each of the flats has windows which are opening. The architect was making a very valid point that in this day and age it is important to design flats which are ventilated well without the need to have to open a window and let all of your heat out and hence increases your fuel bills, seems like a common sense approach to me.

    I think we should seize this opportunity for a truly remarkable development and give the architect and developer every support. I wish them well.

  7. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    The current Portzed proposals COULD be moved to another location within the Port of Shoreham as part of a different plan from a consortium, by trading the land for space elsewhere and using the Portzed sliver (just 18m in depth at its widest point)within a plan such as I outlined at the lecture and above. Any consortium would obviously have Dunster and Brace within any consortium that is formed.

    Why obvious? Because the Port is very keenly pursuing similar renewable power objectives on its own. Heads together, work together!

    Just west of Seaside Villas on the Western Esplanade would be wonderful and in view of the fact that the current planning application is unlikely to succeed, there is a need to be developing Plan B to ensure that all the valuable and expensive work so far done can still be applied, albeit elsewhere within the Port so that huge losses are not needlessly incurred.

  8. Chris W Reply

    I agree with Valerie that this expertise should not be lost. I am not sure why the width of this site is a problem. It is in actual fact wider than Brunswick Terrace which is a building of a similar height and is generally considered to be one of the most splendid buildings in the country. I think you’ll find that the site is the same width as most of King’s House and Saxon Court the block of flats almost immediately opposite. It looks like most of the buildings have only two or three flats per floor so they do not need to be very deep and they are very slim and elegant buildings.

    These taller buildings will form the back row of the choir facing the sea which will gradually decrease in height as the port is developed towards the sea. I would expect buildings of this importance to occupy the high ground as a signature or gateway building identifying where the port begins. They should not be tucked away on the beach where they cannot be seen.We cannot afford to delay these projects whilst complicated land assembly agreements are negotiated, this is what has stopped the port being redeveloped for the last 20 or 30 years( too many cooks).

    This needs to happen now whilst the land and a willing developer are available.

  9. J Galvin Reply

    In response to Chris W, the sun will not just “occasionally drop behind the new buildings in the winter months” – it will be behind them for most of the day.  Although there are small gaps between the buildings, these are at an angle so that the sun will not be able to pass through them at all until the middle of the day.    Even then, these gaps will each contain 11 wind turbines, which will cast their own flickering shadows.   If you walk along Kingsway, have a look at the winter shadows of the 10 metre high lamp-posts on the south side of the road, then work out the shadows that six buildings of almost 18 metres will cast.  

    The developers say in their own literature,  “ZED buildings rely on solar gain, which means large glazed areas in turn give bright airy rooms alleviating seasonal affective disorder or SAD.”   Surely residents of existing buildings need sunlight just as much as the residents of new buildings? 

    Although PV solar panels will generate a reduced amount of electricity on a cloudy day, diffuse light on a cloudy day is not the same as shadow.  PV panels are used in strings, and it only needs one panel to be shaded to drastically reduce output on all panels in a string.  This is why people often have a chimney stack removed when installing them. This loss of power generation potential is clearly a loss of amenity to residents of Kingsway, with electricity prices constantly rising. 

    With regard to the unopenable windows, I have indeed looked at all the plans for the development. The developers’ Preliminary Noise Review Report of May 2011 (p22-23, available on the council website’s planning section) talks about “sealed glazed units” and states that the use of heat exchangers means that “openable windows are not necessary to achieve adequate fresh air”. Some people may like this idea, but it doesn’t appeal to me. 

  10. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    Chris W. it is dangerous to say “They should not be tucked away on the beach where they cannot be seen.”

    This comment implies that this development is exactly what my first impression reaction told me it was: an eco-technology showroom. Or, reading your comment, a vanity project. Look at me. Look at me!

    People have to live in it (with the turbine strobing sunlight through their windows and over to the residents opposite and closing their windows against the noise they generate).

    And you are sounding like Colin who has said to me in exactly the words you use that this is a gateway to the Port. It is blocks of flats!

    And unless there is proof of a contract and plans sitting in the wings waiting to be submitted as a planning application, it is not for you or anyone else to DECLARE that “These taller buildings will form the back row of the choir facing the sea which will gradually decrease in height as the port is developed towards the sea.”

    You may want any new development south of Portzed to “decrease in height” from the Portzed precedent height but you would only be able to force that to happen using QD27 after Portzed pre-empts options for others (amenity PLUS overshadowing that blocks solar gain!). This is one of the reasons why refusal is justified. Other owners (Mackley Wharf) and the Port may want 6 storey heights to be built around that end water!

    I suspect financial considerations mixed with idealism have made for an impatient planning application – a poker/chess move that left Dunster and Brace exposed and trapped.

    There is a new person with a Port/Local Authorities coordinating job at Adur Council and new attention on the Masterplan situation. With focussed will and government infrastructure support, this situation can be untangled and this groundwork can be incorporated into Port regeneration – but not on the proposed Kingsway site.

  11. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    “PV panels are used in strings, and it only needs one panel to be shaded to drastically reduce output on all panels in a string. This is why people often have a chimney stack removed when installing them.”

    Fascinating detail, Jane. I’ve learned something here.

  12. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    ““These taller buildings will form the back row of the choir facing the sea which will gradually decrease in height as the port is developed towards the sea.”

    It is because of comments like this that I believe a planning brief, produced by BHCC for the Hove Lagoon end of the Port to be urgently and essentially needed.

    Should development here be mediating development between Port and City? Should it face Hove Lagoon, providing a gateway THERE? Should development be housing, mixed or strictly commercial?

    A Planning Brief would address these questions so that anyone contemplating development would know where they stand.

  13. Mike Sharman Reply

    As chair of KAWHRA I attended Bill Dunster’s lecture on PortZED last wednesday.
    I would like to discuss a number of issues about the application which I believe were unfairly covered by the speaker.
    These were :
    Wind turbines
    Daylight and sunlight
    Solar panels
    Loss of outlook
    Dirty area
    Green issues

    WIND TURBINES
    PortZED changed the wind turbines to an unproven design after we had shown that the original turbines made by Quiet Revolution would not work
    within the PortZED bespoke setup.
    The 55 wind turbines were too high and wide to fit between the blocks of flats. The artist’s impression of the design ( still used in Bill Dunster’s lecture) was grossly inaccurate and the paired columns too close to prevent turbulence. In August 2011 PortZED changed the turbines to a new untried and unproven prototype and reduced the number from 55 to 50. Despite this PortZED continued to promote to media using Quiet revolution’s turbine data on noise, safety, flicker etc.
    PortZED later removed the turbines altogether and reduced the heights of the end blocks of flats by one floor.
    The council have not allowed this major amendment within the existing application so the prototype turbines will still be considered. Bill Dunster criticised the council for not allowing the turbines and blamed the council for their removal. It was PortZED’s own errors and changes that led to the problem, not any intrangency from the council. These wind turbines are very close to existing houses and traffic on a busy main road and of course must be proved to be safe and well tested before any council would sanction their use.

    DAYLIGHT & SUNLIGHT
    The development would be built less than 30 metres to the south of windows in the existing homes on Kingsway with significant adverse impact to the ideal high levels of daylight and sunlight currently enjoyed in these south facing homes. You have only to look at the developer’s photo-montage from the Kingsway, looking east, to see the looming effect of the development dwarfing the houses on the north side.

    Daylight loss:
    The figures in PortZED’s own reports show that in 70% of windows daylight change would be noticeable and easternmost properties would be most affected. In 43% of windows daylight would be substantially lower, and in a not inconsiderable 13% of windows their daylight would be reduced from the virtually perfect to near or below the ‘good daylighting potential’ level.

    Loss of winter sunlight:
    One report show that in winter the present 95% of windows receiving the highest levels possible of sunlighthours would be reduced to 16%. The second report states that houses and flats would be in shadow for most of the short winter days for a period of 11 weeks i.e. over a fifth of the year .
    Please take a look at the 3D model shadowing shown on our website.

    http://www.kawhra.info

    Loss of passive solar light and heat:
    Local high levels of daylight and sunlight have always enabled residents along this stretch of Kingsway to maximise their use of passive solar light and heat in existing homes. This passive warming has always reduced the need for additional expensive heating in the existing affected houses. The effects of the development of reducing sunlight and daylight levels therefore would have a substantial adverse carbon impact on existing homes.

    Lack of justification for these losses:
    Taller buildings sited to the south of lower homes is now nationally recognised as undesirable because it is prejudicial for solar gain in those homes. All the south facing homes on Kingsway between Hove Street and Boundary Road enjoy unobstructed high levels of daylight and sunlight. The area was laid out so that the only buildings on the northern side of Kingsway to be overshadowed by buildings on the opposite side were commercial buildings in the local service node formed by the former Caffyns garage and shops that faced the public house (now called the Blue Lagoon).

    Therefore at present all the windows in all the existing properties on Kingsway that would be affected by the development currently enjoy the best possible levels of daylight and sunlight. Nowhere does Bill Dunster attempt to explain and justify why there should be any future reduction from the perfect daylight and sunlight levels enjoyed for the past 80 years by these properties as a specific consequence of their unobstructed southwards outlook.

    SOLAR PANELS
    Bill Dunster was dismissive of the solar panels on houses on the Kingsway. He also suggested we should spend our money on good insulation instead. My house is fully insulated. I make 2000kWh (units) of electricity from the solar panels per year , more than my total use of electricity and gas from the grid and mains. Chris W. might like to note that my major amount of solar electricity comes from sunlight hours and that I make very little on cloudy days. I had my chimney removed for the very reason Valerie Paynter mentions.

    LOSS OF OUTLOOK
    The wall of structures comprising the six proposed five storey blocks of buildings linked at first floor level by large photovoltaic display canopies, and the five turbine masts, would destroy the characteristic open public outlook over the harbour from Kingsway and along the side roads. Likewise it would destroy the characteristic outlook of the harbour and out to sea from the first floors of all homes on Kingsway, and from others in the area, which is much prized by residents of Kingsway and the side roads.

    DIRTY AREA
    Bill Dunster called the Kingsway area “dirty”. As a Kingsway resident myself I only see one dirty area and that is owned by the developer.

    GREEN ISSUES ( as discussed in the lecture)
    I have no problem with making buildings carbon neutral per se and I believe I am close to that achievement myself, without the 400 years that Bill Dunster said PortZED would take with no wind turbines. I am a keen tandem cyclist with my wife, travel little by car, make use of public transport and walk often into the Brighton and Hove City I love. I too have concerns about global warming and have grandchildren whose future is important to me. I am not vegetarian yet!

    PortZED got off to a poor start because of no local consultation and has failed to show any concern for the local area and loss of amenities. Kingsway seems to be an inconvenient truth to be sacrificed for a development I believe to be seriously flawed. PortZED’s application should be withdrawn or rejected.

    Please take a look at the KAWHRA website

    http://www.kawhra.info

    Mike Sharman
    (Chair of KAWHRA – Kingsway and West Hove Resident’s Association)

  14. Chris W Reply

    Further to Jane Galvin’s comments I still cannot understand why they feel that the 9 or 10 houses on the Kingsway should expect to be treated any differently to other homeowners in Brighton who have buildings to the south and may experience some loss of direct sunlight in the very deepest winter months. The whole of the Kingsway is characterised by taller blocks of flats facing the sea and lower two story buildings behind them to the north. The new building on the old Caffyns site will create a far worse situation than the portzed development which is a lot further away from its neighbours. There are many examples across the whole of Brighton where smaller houses sit behind taller neighbours or behind trees which may block some light, these people just get on with it. If the Kingsway residents lose some direct sunlight for a small part of the day through the winter months is this really a loss or is it just that they benefited from a privilege position which the rest of us do not have and manage to lead perfectly reasonable lives. I have a tall building immediately to the south of my home in Hove. I would see more sunlight if it wasn’t there but I do not expect to have the right to ask my neighbour to knock it down and keep their site undeveloped so I can have all year round direct sunlight. I have solar PV on my roof and when it was fitted the installers fitted a special diode so that the panels still produce electricity even if one or two of them are occasionally in the shade. I drive along the Kingsway on my way to work every day and walk my dogs along there quite often. I only ever noticed one house with a couple of solar panels on before. Then suddenly as soon as the portzed scheme was announced quite surprisingly all of the other residents rushed out and bought PV panels even though they knew there might be a development happening across the road. Foolhardy at least or perhaps a cunning plan to have a moan. I’m sorry but I do believe these people are just trying to put their own self interest in the way of progress and yes they may be SAD but it is nothing to do with the lack of daylight. 

    I have read quite a lot about this development over the past couple of days both on the planning website and the internet. There are number of articles written by various journalists and the development company bohogreenzed (which are quite interesting). It appears that a lot of very knowledgeable people who are truly independent are supporting this scheme they can’t all be wrong can they? The only people who have a problem with it are the people that live on the opposite side of the road and a few of their friends. They are hardly independent. I am an engineer not a designer so I only have a personal opinion on design issues as do the local residents. I am prepared to be corrected by people who have studied architecture and who obviously know far more about design than I do and so should the local residents. In my line of work I deal with precise figures something is either inside the required tolerance or it is rejected. Surely we should use the same criteria on issues of light anywhere in the country otherwise it is just down to personal opinion and hardly a level playing field to encourage development to take place. As far as I can see this development has been tested and has passed the required parameters. 

    I believe this is a development that is saying “look at me” but quite rightly so. It is also saying “look at Brighton and Hove” to the rest of the country this is the standard of sustainable development you should aspire to. Don’t let this glimmer of hope get bogged down in red tape or petty prejudices it is good news for the city for the jobs it will create and good news for the planet.

  15. Andrew Page Reply

    Regarding the comments from Chris W, the arguments for sustainable carbon neutral building are clear and Bill Dunster presents PortZED in a very persuasive manner. Unfortunately, true carbon neutral development is currently just about impossible. Current Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 ‘carbon neutral’ developments achieve this level in part by factoring in energy allowances for production of local green energy and these generally fail to provide anywhere near the anticipated energy output. Furthermore, the Code assessment criteria does not require the developer to account for the embodied energy or cost involved in the manufacture and installation of the renewable energy equipment. Assessment of embodied energy is complex and the usual method used (by planning authorities amongst others) is to look at the ‘pay back period’ – that is, the number of years of energy saving required to pay back the initial investment. Small wind turbines perform particularly poorly in this respect and calculations on the PortZED turbine installation show that the turbines would need replacing well before the capital cost had been recouped. Bill Dunster has enormous experience in low carbon construction but this does not currently extend to built turbine installations of the type proposed for PortZED, which is a prototype design and is unfortunately completely flawed in its concept. The applicant now wishes to remove the turbines from the project but this will challenge the original reasons underpinning the plan form and massing of the design. Bill Dunster said ‘start with good insulation’ – on this basis the high level of external wall area embodied in the scheme would need to be reconsidered and a more compact design solution evolved.

  16. Susan Reply

    There are two major inaccuracies in the comments by Chris W on the proposed Portzed development. Firstly he suggests that existing Kingsway residents, who for 11 weeks of the winter will lose most of the good level of sunlight that they currently enjoy, are unreasonable to expect to retain it because many other houses in the city are overshadowed in winter.

    In fact the need to increase use of fossil fuels to heat and light overshadowed houses has led in recent years to national planning advice to planning authorities to reduce the carbon impact of new development by not allowing overshadowing by taller buildings built to the south of lower buildings. For the same reason orientating new houses in a southerly direction is now advised to enable them to take advantage of the best levels of natural light and warmth from sunshine.

    Many streets in the city were laid out before people were concerned about overshadowing and carbon impact. However, where previous generations got the layout of existing homes right, in terms of lowering carbon impact, there can be no justification for increasing the carbon impact now.

    Secondly he is wrong in saying that “the whole of Kingsway is characterised by taller blocks of flats facing the sea, and lower two storey buildings behind them to their north”.
    All the south facing homes on Kingsway between Hove Street and Boundary Road currently enjoy unobstructed high levels of daylight and sunlight. The area was laid out so that the only buildings on the northern side of this part of Kingsway to be overshadowed by taller buildings built on the opposite southern side were the commercial buildings in the local service node formed by the former Caffyns garage and shops on the north side that faced onto the taller public house (now called the Blue Lagoon) on the south side. The planners got it right 80 years ago; let’s hope they keep up the good work now and refuse permission for this retrogressive proposal for the south side of Kingsway.

  17. John Welsh Reply

    Dear Chris W. The cheque is in the post. Love and thanks. Colin and Bill

  18. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    Chris W, if you want to be clear about the totality of issues concerning the planning application and problems that mean consent is unlikely, I would like to suggest you contact planning officer Guy Everest on 293334 or City Direct at Hove Town Hall 292424 and request sight of the officer’s working case file for the Portzed application. You might find the consultation responses from experts who are not residents instructive.

  19. Chris W Reply

    I note the responses on Susan and I’m wondering if she is somewhat missing the point here. The very limited amount of direct sunlight that will be lost is actually over the winter months when the sun is at its weakest point in the sky and let’s face it with British weather it is unlikely to be shining for a large percentage of that time. All other times of the year the properties opposite will receive uninterrupted sunlight as they have now. Surely she cannot be suggesting that we never build any buildings to the south of existing properties anywhere in the country, otherwise all development would simply cease. You also have to look at the mathematics here, there is the opportunity of providing additional housing for 67 individual households which could benefit from direct sunlight to help heat their homes and power them via their solar panels with only a very minor impact on the 9 or 10 existing homes opposite. Would it be fair to prevent these apartments being built because of the Kingsway residents refusing to allow a very small percentage of their sunlight to be given to somebody else. After all they do not own that the earth’s natural resources and the greater good is done for the greater number if the development is allowed to proceed. 

    There are of course a number of other benefits which the existing Kingsway residents will benefit from which I do not think the developer has spoken about in their reports. The new Portzed buildings will act as a wind break which will shield the existing Kingsway properties from the worst effect of storm damage to their properties resulting in less degradation to the external fabric, minimal maintenance and decoration costs. There will be a reduction in the cooling effect that the strong winds must have on their property currently which will result in an improvement to the thermal efficiency of their homes and hopefully reduce their heating bills. This will have the effect of making their homes far more sustainable which is the thrust of the guidance Susan is speaking of and will easily compensate for any slight loss of the solar gain in the winter months.

    Things have moved on from 80 years ago and the requirement for housing on brownfield sites is now far more important than it was then. We need to adapt our thinking accordingly.

  20. Sara Van Loock Reply

    I love walking along this part of Kingsway – the industrial landscape is, in my opinion, an interesting, non-suburban one, and one of the reasons I am happy to live around there. I love seeing the ships funnels at the bottom of my road, and the wood stacks and the openness of the sky. I choose to walk my dog along the lower road – Basin Road North, because I enjoy its character. To me, Shoreham Port is special, and I hope its unique character will be treated with respect, rather than contempt, and that the ethos of any future development will be to enhance what exists.

  21. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    Sara’s comment could have been made by so many of the residents overlooking Port activities. This may sound odd to some, but the Port of Shoreham has an almost park-like place in local people’s hearts. A different kind of park but one visited and strolled through with real love and appreciation.

  22. Mary Frankel Reply

    at least you wont be havhose poor animals useing it

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