Planners turn down tower blocks opposite Preston Park in Brighton

Posted On 24 Apr 2013 at 4:37 pm

Planners have turned down a proposal to build 231 flats in a massive building opposite Preston Park in Brighton.

Five members of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee voted against the scheme which involves demolishing Anston House. Four members voted in favour and three abstained.

The decision was made at a packed meeting at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday 24 April).

The reasons included the height and scale of the proposed building which would be up to 15 storeys high. Anston House is nine storeys high.

Councillors said that they were concerned about the proposed flats overlooking properties in Dyke Road Drive.

They said that the new block would be too near the road and would lead to the loss of three mature trees. It also contained too few affordable homes.

But those in favour said that the scheme would bring much-needed housing, modern offices and more than 150 jobs.

James Breckell, of the Conservation Advisory Group, which advises the Planning Committee on behalf of local conservation groups, told councillors: “You’re being asked to vote on an application that should never have come before you.

“We see a building born out of meeting targets, not promoting good architecture.

“This is a well-respected developer that’s promoted notable schemes in the north of England so why have they dropped their standards when they’ve come to Brighton?”

He said that the plans should be taken back and redesigned.

The application was due to have been dealt with at the committee’s previous meeting on Wednesday 3 April.

The decision was deferred over concerns about the accuracy of the plans, in particular projections showing the extent of overshadowing.

The five councillors voting against the scheme were Denise Cobb, Penny Gilbey, Ken Norman, Alan Robins and Carol Theobald.

The four in favour were Bob Carden, Ian Davey, Christopher Hawtree and Phélim Mac Cafferty.

The three who abstained were Geoffrey Bowden, Lynda Hyde and Mike Jones.


  1. brian Reply

    The district valuer concluded the scheme was viable with 40 per cent affordable housing; but officers were wiling to ignore this advice and to accept only 30 per cent? Why were they so concerned about profits for Urban Splash (US) when 14,000 local people currently languish on the council’s waiting list in need of housing?!? If the design was not viable (which the district valuer disputed) US should have been pushed to come up with something better rather than officers giving up valuable and badly needed affordable homes. Also, US appear to be in dire straits financially (source so would they have been in a position to afford to build out the scheme or would they (or Investec) have looked to flip the site to a developer or housebuilder and extract the increased value if planning consent was granted? The application appeared to lack the flair and passion of some of their excellent schemes up north. Any appeal should, in my view, fail. The design needs rethinking and requires a fresh approach to what admittedly is a difficult site however with potential that US did not fully exploit.

  2. saveHOVE Reply

    The reason why BHCC would have ordered that the District Valuer assess the affordable housing claim is the same as or the Karis King Alfred scheme (2005-2007). The developers make a claim about not being able to afford to do something which the council wants tested as a claim.

    Urban Splash said it was financially unviable to put 40% affordable into the scheme. Interestingly, in speaking at the planning meeting there was discussion of room sizes and this is key to understanding their position.

    For affordable housing there are room size rules and for market housing there are none which means market housing can be built to smaller (more units, more profit) scale. Rabbit hutches in my view.

    Affordable housing (social housing for a housing association) uses up more square metreage and is therefore less profitable.

    The District Valuer would have looked at financial proofs from the developers in making his judgment that they CAN afford to put in 40% and remain financially viable.

    If this country joined the rest of Europe in imposing minimum room sizes across the board everyone would know where they stand from the start and none of this dipsydoodling would be happening.

  3. saveHOVE Reply

    P.S. I would like to know if Urban Splash were required to pay for the District Valuer’s Report because Karis were made to pay for theirs for the King Alfred, even though it was BHCC which commissioned it.

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