The owners of a Brighton night club have had their plans for a terrace of houses on Hove seafront turned down for the third time in a year.
Michael Deol and Robert Webb, who own Club Revenge in Old Steine, Brighton, applied to build five five-storey houses on the site of the old Sackville Hotel in Kingsway, Hove.
The scheme included a separate five-storey building facing Sackville Gardens, containing two flats and two maisonettes. The site would also have had an underground car park.
The proposal to build the terraced homes was narrowly defeated when six councillors voted in support of the recommendation by planning officials to reject the scheme. Five councillors voted to permit the scheme.
The advice to Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee was to refuse permission because the proposed building was too bulky and had too many floors.
Planning officer Adrian Smith said: “It is our opinion that the development has been poorly designed, particularly the barrel roofs.
“They would be more appropriate for the Middle East than the middle of the seafront in Hove.”
He said that the proposal was almost identical to the previous application which was also turned down because, among other reasons, it wasn’t set back from the street.
The report also said that architect Alan Phillips’s design failed to “respect the scale, general development pattern and predominant character of the Sackville Gardens Conservation Area”.
An earlier Regency-style design by Mr Phillips was rejected in July last year for being a pastiche.
Solicitor and former Hove councillor David Barling, representing Mr Deol and Mr Webb, said that under the new National Planning Policy Framework the scheme should be approved.
He quoted a report by the council’s own heritage officer which said that there was no objection in principle to a terrace of townhouses on the site.
The heritage officer’s report added: “The height, footprint, alignment and individual house plot widths are all appropriate and relate well to the historic context.”
Councillor Lynda Hyde, a former Conservative chairman of the planning committee, said: “I liked the Regency design and I like the design that’s before us.
“It’s a lot better than the hole in the ground which has been there since 2006.
“It’s not my favourite design but it’s better than the design of some of the blocks that popped up in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Some are eight storeys high.”
Fellow Conservative, Councillor Carol Theobald, said: “I preferred the previous (Regency) design but this is quite an exciting proposal.”
And another Conservative, Councillor Geoff Wells, said: “It looks like a bomb site at the moment. It reminds me of Jubilee Street and the SS Brighton in West Street which stood empty for up to 30 years.”
Councillor Christina Summers, a Green, said: “I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to say it’s been empty for six years and therefore we need to fill a hole.
“Whatever goes there is likely to stay there for more than six years.
“I’m concerned about the consistency along that terrace. I still think there’s room for a better design to come through.
“The design is too top-heavy and condensed. I think we’ve underestimated the importance of good design.
“I would want to have that prominent position taken up by an excellent development.”
Fellow Green and former planning committee chairman, Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, said: “Any proposal within a conservation area should enhance or improve the appearance of the area.”
Mr Deol and Mr Webb have lodged an appeal against the refusal to give permission for an almost identical proposal which was rejected in March.
The independent Planning Inspectorate has yet to set a date to determine the appeal.