Key road in and out of Hove to be closed

Posted On 14 Sep 2012 at 6:02 pm

One of the main commuter roads out of Hove is to be closed as part of plans being drawn up for Toad’s Hole Valley.

King George VI Avenue, known locally as Snakey Hill, would be turned into a cul de sac, pushing traffic on to either the Hangleton link road or Woodland Drive.

Toad’s Hole Valley would be turned into a housing estate made up of mostly flats flanked by a business park and a new school.

The business park would be expected to be the workplace for about 900 people.

Through traffic would be diverted via two new roundabouts and have to cover almost twice the distance to go to or come from the A27.

Initial plans for the 98-acre site have been posted online and can be seen here and below.

Councillor Brian Fitch

One critic said: “The further drivers have to go, the more petrol or diesel they’ll be burning.

“The first draft of this scheme – and it is only the first draft – appears to include about 50 buildings.

“Given the Greens want to cram 750 homes on to this site, we’re looking at blocks of flats with an average of 15 flats.

“It looks like it’s going to be more Harmsworth Crescent than Queen Victoria Avenue.

“And while we desperately need new schools in Brighton and Hove – primary and secondary schools – this part of town is already well served.

“Any school here is likely to be too far from the children who most need it so parents are likely to end up driving them to drop them off and pick them up.

“Considering it’s supposed to be a sustainable development, it’s going to completely defeat the purpose.

“I’m worried it’s all a bit gimmicky and short on common sense.

“This is currently green space, after all. It’s not the most attractive green space, I grant you.

“But the so-called concept plan calls to mind the worst aspects of Whitehawk or Hollingbury but with nowhere to park a car.

“It doesn’t look like the disabled or even the arthritic will stand much of a chance of being able to live there.

“Labour and Tory councillors have already been reflecting the understandable concerns of those living close by.

“There’s going to be quite a fight over this even though we probably do need to make use of this land.”

Toad’s Hole Valley

The plans have been drawn up Tunbridge Wells architects and planning firm Enplan and will be the subject of considerable consultation.

Although the land is owned by the Cook family, Enplan has listed Brighton and Hove City Council as its client.

The council’s ruling Green Party is keen to tackle the city’s need for housing and school places with a design that is consistent with One Planet Living principles.

The steep western slope of Toad’s Hole Valley is a site of nature conservation interest, accounting for more than a fifth of the total acreage.

The draft City Plan talks about protecting this land but the early plans suggest that “inappropriate vegetation” would be removed to make way for an “ecology park”.

Labour councillor Brian Fitch, who represents Hangleton and Knoll, has already handed in petitions opposing any building in Toad’s Hole Valley.

He said that it would be wrong to concrete over a much-loved green space while brownfield sites such as Shoreham Harbour had sites that could be developed.

A resident living next to the valley said: “I’ve read that it’s not a green space worth keeping because we can’t legally walk over it and yet there are public paths on the Hangleton side.

“And I find it hard to believe that the Greens, of all people, are struggling to understand the amenity value of a green space and the biological necessity.”

  1. saveHOVE Reply

    Fascinating. Blocks of flats: NO! Houses: YES!

    School there: no. There is somewhere better for a new school that would serve more of Hove’s need.

    The saveHOVE response to the recent City Plan consultation asked for recognition that the centre of HOVE had moved well north of BHCC’s designated central area such that the B1, B8 semi-industrial restrictions on the area beside Hove Station that stretches from Ellen Street up to Old Shoreham Road are no longer appropriate.

    BHCC has persisted in referring to this area in documentation as ‘suburban’ and its got to stop and not be perpetuated into the City Plan.

    The saveHOVE response recommended liberating that Hove Station area from development restriction requiring offices and semi-industrial which also resists putting retail and a school into it.

    The saveHOVE response recommended shifting B1, B8, etc. office/semi-industrial use up to Toad’s Hole Valley, a huge space that could provide the sizes of newbuild that is lacking and which is losing up places like Rayner’s Optical and threatening to lose us Infinity Warehousing. And which lost us the Body Shop years ago.

    Such economic activity needs to be close to inter-city road links. Toad’s Hole Valley.

    Putting a business park (employment) into Toad’s Hole Valley is sensible.

  2. JS Reply

    This looks like a fantastic plan. Increased school capacity, new homes, business park AND high quality green space all on an unattractive underused piece of land?

    Let’s face it … we’ve had a housing shortage for 30 years. At some point we’re going to actually have to do something about it. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a house, congratulations! For the rest of us, well designed flats with decent balconies will do nicely. I’d much rather see 750 homes for ordinary people than 100 lovely new houses (which would be great for those who earn 50k+ but where are you going to get your food from if shopworkers can’t afford to live here anymore?) What do you think existed before Hove was built? GREEN SPACE. That’s right. If you live in Hove, you live in a home which was built on a beautiful green space. Of course it’s understandable that you want to protect what’s left but I’d much rather see this space built on than tearing up part of the national park. I think the issue here is really HOW the development is planned rather than whether or not it goes ahead.

    The plan above shows a new purpose built main road, which isn’t littered with driveways and junctions slowing down the traffic. There appears to be a footpath/cycleway parallel to King George VI Drive, creating an attractive and safe route for pedestrians and cyclists. What’s the problem?

    The school site looks a little indulgent to me, and I’d probably prefer to see a higher density innovative design with multiple storeys and roof decks for playgrounds, however if this is what’s needed, and what’s affordable – then brilliant! I’m not an expert on school design but I hardly think providing new school capacity is a bad thing!

    I can see why people are NIMBYs, and I don’t blame them for wanting to preserve what they’ve got. But it’s my backyard too and I think this is great!

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