Approval has been given for 71 flats to be built opposite Hove Park.
Hyde Housing has been granted planning permission to demolish Park House, the derelict residential language school on the corner of Old Shoreham Road and Goldstone Crescent.
In its place Hyde intends to build a five-storey block of flats with 71 car parking spaces, equivalent to one per flat. Some of the cars will be in a basement car park and the site will include 126 cycle parking spaces.
Thirty of the 71 flats – or 42 per cent – will be classed as “affordable” and five of those will be fully wheelchair accessible.
Work on the £18 million scheme, which has twice been turned down, is expected to start early next year.
Forty seven neighbours wrote letters of objection complaining that the proposed building be too bulky and unsympathetic.
Councillor Vanessa Brown, who represents Hove Park ward on Brighton and Hove City Council, said the increase in the number of parking spaces meant that “this application is an improvement on the previous application”.
She said: “It’s still an overdevelopment of the site. This is a very sensitive site between Hove Park and Hove Recreation Ground.
“It’s on a very busy junction. This building is also higher than neighbouring buildings.”
She criticised the density, at 206 dwellings per hectare. She said that it was much greater than the 70 dwellings per hectare in the flats next door. And in the Old Shoreham Road houses, opposite the southern end of the site, the density was 29 dwellings per hectare.
Tom Shaw, from Hyde, said that this was because the proposed building had an extra storey.
Councillor Brown cited Southern Water which said: “There is currently inadequate capacity in the local network to provide foul and surface water disposal to service the proposed development.”
Southern Water also said: “The proposed development would increase flows to the public sewerage system and existing properties and land may be subject to a greater risk of flooding as a result.”
Neighbour Duncan Barker, of Old Shoreham Road, criticised the council for sending out leaflets that were unclear and difficult to read, especially for the elderly.
He also complained that the council had offered only computer access to the plans.
Mr Barker said that the building would be “a cramped ghetto”. Two previous plans had been rejected and he added: “The first two plans didn’t look right and neither does the third.”
He said that the skyline was brutal, the gardens gloomy and aspects of the design ugly.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden said: “This site seems to have been like this forever. Where are the 12,000 people on the housing waiting list going to go?”
Mr Shaw told the council planning committee this afternoon (Wednesday 4 April) that he was “very aware of the strength of local feeling around this development”.
He said: “The scheme is supported by the South East Regional Design Panel and Hove Civic Society.
“This development doesn’t break the skyline. We’re making efficient use of land to provide much-needed housing for the city in a way that doesn’t harm the local area.”
It was designed by the Brighton architects Yelo.
Two Labour councillors, Bob Carden and Leigh Farrow, spelt out their concerns about badgers on the site.
Conservative councillor Carol Theobald and Labour councillor Les Hamilton said that the developer had to pay £407,000 to the council in “section 106” money.
They both questioned whether Hyde would gave come up with a better scheme if it had been required to hand over less money to support local transport, schools, jobs and open spaces.
Green councillor Christopher Hawtree said that the existing building was at least distinctive even though it lacked architectural merit.
Conservative councillor Lynda Hyde said of the scheme: “It’s improved. I don’t actually like it. I’m supporting it with reluctance.”
Six of the 12 committee members voted for the scheme, four voted against and two abstained, ending a planning process that has lasted four years.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.