Primary school likely to open on edge of Hove Park next year

Posted On 18 May 2013 at 9:27 pm

Plans for a new school in Hove Park go on display to the public next week.

The Bilingual Primary School Brighton and Hove is holding a public consultation about its proposed permanent home.

The school, currently based at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) in Falmer, is looking to move to the site of the Hove Park Depot.

Previous plans to build an indoor bowls centre at the depot, a former plant nursery next to the Engineerium, were turned down six years ago.

The site was earmarked for a school three years ago as Brighton and Hove City Council tried to work out how to cope with the growing demand for primary school places.

The drop-in exhibition and consultation is scheduled to take place at Hove Rugby Club’s clubhouse in Hove Recreation Ground, Old Shoreham Road.

The proposed plans will be available for viewing from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday 23 May.

The school, which immerses children in Spanish and English, opened last September in its temporary premises.

Although it is not expected to move into new premises until September next year, it was oversubscribed for the coming September.


  1. saveHOVE Reply

    The scrub nursery site is totally unsuitable for use as a school or any other thing that requires vehicle access.

    The tiny Drove services City Park and the Engineerium. It is just not ON to put a school there that would involve parents piling in to deliver the children (God forbid they should WALK).

    Hove Park itself would be commandeered by any school using the nursery site for school sports and play and that would put an unacceptable pressure of numbers and use on the park. Already a block of 71 flats at the southern end is being built which will house children and other new residents who will add to numbers using the park.

    Hove Park is already heavily used by residents from much wider than just the surrounding streets; and beyond a certain point the cost of repairs and maintenance of the park to retain its standards would become a permanent drain that is unacceptable.

    The scrub nursery is a very difficult site and should be retained for parks and gardens for them to continue to use as a base for its work on Hove area parks and plantings.

    We have lost the Hove Park Gardens wildlife oasis to council stupidity and lack of policy documentation and the Park House trees too. This means that the red list birds and badgers only have what is left of their tenuous hold in the area around Hove Park. It is known that a lot of noise drives away birdlife. Children are very noisy, bless ’em.

    In the dark of winter the proposed area would not be easy to use. They would need to floodlight it, putting light pollution into this park.

    It is not in the interests of this park or local amenity to put a school on that site.

  2. James Reply

    Sick of the residents holding everyone back! Just because you own a house does not give you the right to prevent others having a home or school built. Strange how Tories become communists when it comes to others having a future. They think they deserve a say over other peoples land and can prevent homes/schools being built.

  3. Paul Reply

    People may be sick of residents – but when you are one and not only do you have cars that were destined to be parked in the car parks of the various offices built in the park parking on the street outside your home from 06:30 every day such that you can’t park your own car and now you want a school with students roaming around a park adding to the litter as well as potentially residents gardens as a potential side effect , it is not surprising that there is resistance – when did a park become open territory to add offices and now schools – ridiculous – it might as well not be a park at all. If it goes ahead then change the name and abandon it as a park. Think as if you were a resident and then you would not regurgitate such communistic rubbish !

  4. Reply

    This Spanish/English bilingual outfit are a private enterprise just like the Regency Language School, Bellerby’s and the rest. They can buy land and buildings on the open market and set up a school that way.

    It is immoral to collude with a government body which will just take land on their behalf and give it to them. They, like the Kings School have to take responsibility for finding premises just like any other business and not.

    What the government is threatening to do here, at BHASVIC and now at Hove Park is a kind of creeping fascism to my mind. And my view of both Kings School and this bilingual one is not good. Their reputations do not benefit from what they are doing.

  5. Fred Long Reply

    I hold no brief for free schools or academies but Valerie Paynter is incorrect to describe them as private enterprises. The bilingual school is a state school but it happens to report to the Department for Education rather than the local authority. Parents do not pay fees to send their children there. The land and buildings in Hove Park – if it is built there – will be owned by the Government not by the council. It is completely wrong to compare it with the Regency Language School or Bellerby’s or, say, Brighton College. Interestingly, Brighton College pupil numbers went up markedly after the council rejigged the catchment areas and brought in the lottery system to decide school places. I understand that the free school is able to run its own admissions system but chooses to work with the council. What is immoral, Valerie Paynter, is to spread misinformation as you have done just because you are against something. The Government is not ‘threatening’ to do anything in Hove Park. The council decided years ago to give the land over to a school. The land will probably end up being taken over by the Government. The school will provide sorely-needed places for children living in Hove where there is a genuine shortage. The site is currently an ugly mix of scrappy buildings with dozens of vehicle movements throughout the day. A small school would, to my mind, be a vast improvement.

  6. Reply

    Thank you for your clarification but my oh my why spoil the post with misinformation about the Hove Park site?

    The council did not decide to give the Hove Park scrub nursery over to a school. That is not a decision ever taken by the council per se that I am aware of. The area was identified as a possible site for a school and shortlisted as such by the section of the council concerned with schools. And it was not years ago. Years ago (7 years approx.) it was going to be used to off-house indoor bowling that Karis did not want to include within its King Alfred application. It is only in the last 3 years that it has been considered for a possible school site.

    The decision to “give the land over to a school” would be taken by Policy and Resources. Can you provide the date when that was done? I don’t believe it has happened. Are you suggesting that the government can compulsory purchase it for the Spanish school?

  7. Fred Long Reply

    Oh dear! The latest comment posted by Valerie Paynter returns the suggestion of misinformation. My earlier comment was, though, entirely accurate and worded with care. I understand the anxieties of those who live near the site or who already find the traffic sticky in the rush hour and the parking problematic. I am concerned that any plans for the site may be too obtrusive, although any new building will of course be in the shadow of the British Engineerium and, to a lesser extant, the City Park buildings on the old Alliance & Leicester site. I also find it disappointing that local councils are unable to open new schools unless they are free schools or academies. Councils may not be perfect but they are overseen and, to an extent, run by democratically elected councillors. Mind you, if the school is built, the total cost will be funded by taxpayers across the country rather than local taxpayers having to pick up a chunk of the bill.
    I will try to address the so-called misinformation referred to by Valerie Paynter. Three years is ‘years’. Besides, the site was being considered for use as a school before the consideration was made public a little more than more than three years ago. The consideration was made public through the appropriate ‘section’ of the council in line with its constitution and scheme of delegation. Of course, final sign-off may well be needed before any transaction is agreed. But legal mechanisms exist which may override the need for agreement. That is to say, the Government can compulsorily purchase the site whatever the policy and resources committee says.
    In addition, the council’s draft city plan talks about ‘working with partners to identify appropriate sites’ for schools. This site is a prime example. The council has actively worked with a quango called the Education Funding Agency to identify this site which will serve an area in need of a local secular primary school. You and I may think that the legal powers vested in this quango prevent proper local democratic oversight but this is the statutory process as it currently stands. The council is, I believe, obliged by law to co-operate.
    Valerie Paynter mentions the indoor bowling centre proposed by Karis without seeming to appreciate that it is dealt with in the story above.

  8. Valeri Paynter Reply

    The Spanish School’s own drawings show it looming over the park. Loud and proud. Urbanising Hove park in such a way would be very, very wrong. And I only mentioned the bowls plan because you seemed to have forgotten it. Sorry to see you bluffing about knowing anything at all about any decision made public “in line with is constitution and scheme of delegation”. An actual decision of that kind would not be delegated to an officer. Not a chance in hell. So, no. It was never more than a short-list contender.

  9. Fred Long Reply

    Loud and proud is a rather subjective interpretation of the designs shown last week. I suspect that Valerie Paynter may have been the aggressively opinionated woman criticising all and sundry at the public exhibition at Hove Rugby Club when I went along. Loud and proud would seem to me to better describe her looming over Hove Rec.
    The proposed school site is compact. The school would replace the rather ragged and scruffy set of buildings which currently litter the site. There are undoubtedly issues to addressed in terms of design, travel arrangements and other matters. I hope that Valerie Paynter can bring a more humble and constructive approach to sharing her experience of the world of planning.
    She seems surprisingly confident yet ignorant about the council’s constitution. It includes the following sentences in its scheme of delegation: ‘The acquisition or disposal of land or an interest in land shall be referred to the Policy & Resources Committee for determination. This shall not affect the relevant committees’ powers to make decisions on service issues relating to their functions.’
    Before the committee system was reinstated, the relevant cabinet member earmarked the land for use as a school. It is, of course, subject to the usual planning process. The planning committee doesn’t always grant permission to council or council-related projects or policies, it does usually.
    Valerie Paynter also says, ‘An actual decision of that kind would not be delegated to an officer.’ She seems to have forgotten the decision by the policy and resources committee to delegate the review of pay and allowances to officers. The fact that it is not due to come back before councillors was one reason why the Green Party in Brighton and Hove was split over the strike by CityClean employees.
    It is also worth recalling the decision to hand over the negotiations about the i360 to officers once councillors agreed to lend money for the project. Mind you, it was due to be signed off last autumn but hasn’t been.
    If her criticisms and responses were factually grounded, it would be easier to take them seriously. Instead, the impression is given of someone ranting on the basis of their somewhat irrational prejudices. While I do not represent the school or the council, and while I sympathise with neighbours who want to understand how any plans may affect them, I would rather debate any proposal based on a careful consideration of all the facts.

  10. Valerie Paynter Reply

    You really are in a tangle, aren’t you. And ranting is what you are doing – aggressively.

    Under the cabinet system, a Full Cabinet meeting would have been needed to commit BHCC to using the scrub nursery area (still a base for council gardeners to work out of)for a school alone and nothing but a school. And if you are so sure that the cabinet member responsible at the time (Vanessa Brown, who is also one of the two ward councillors for the Hove Park area)had the fairy godmother powers you claim for her to commit BHCC to use of that land for a school, I will ask you again, please provide the date of the meeting when this decision was taken so I can look at the Minutes.

    I’m assuming you have checked the facts sine you “would rather debate any proposal based on a careful consideration of all the facts.

  11. Jackie Lewis Reply

    Fred Long: My husband and I were at the meeting with Valerie Paynter and she was not the person you describe in your comments “I suspect that Valerie Paynter may have been the aggressively opinionated woman criticising all and sundry at the public exhibition at Hove Rugby Club when I went along. Loud and proud would seem to me to better describe her looming over Hove Rec”.

    Our observations were that the drawings displayed at the exhibition were not scaled and the orientations wrong. The proposals are for a primary School accommodating 600 pupils with 12 on-site parking places. Vehicle access will be restricted to the Droveway from Nevill Road, so assume that parents will attempt to park south of Hove Park and walk across. This area is completely congested with regards to parking (after City Park was built with inadequate parking). Park House on the corner of Goldstone Crescent, which is currently being developed, will only add to the problem.

    Also, whilst there is provision for play areas in the grounds, they will not big enough for this number of children, so assume Hove Park will become their playground? Hove Park at present is used all year round and is not fenced, we feel that by bringing 600 primary school children into the Park may affect this. We have no objection to a School being built but do object to the sheer size of it, it should at the very least be self contained with minimum impact on an already congested area and beautiful park.

  12. Paul Reply

    Ladies/ Gents – even with the exchanges continuing what if anything can be done in a preventative way. I presume that the decision to permit building has already been granted and cannot be reversed despite logical and sensible reasoning. Predicated on that is there any worth in any fo these exchanges or are we all going to be railroaded as happened when Alliance and Leicester and Lloyds built their offices (with lesser parking than that required for the passing of planning permission – curiously !!) Can we expect malarchy and suspicious changes without any prior notification… 600 students on 3 floors is going to be cramped – How will Health and safety view this ! The fact is there is no point even raising any of the points we are discussing if we are powerless to put a stop to it. The council would be well advised in concentrating on current matters such as lack of garbage collection for nearly a month rather than trying to become quasi property developers !!! This is not what the council is elected for. May common sense please prevail and despite the greed factor leave a park to be a park – why the existing site that is used by this proposed school cannot be extended has never been explained …. please advise .. then an end to this nonsense …

  13. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Cllr Sue Shanks, the Chair of Children & Young People, is the Green Administration Cllr in charge of school issues. She confirms to me that BHCC supports the Spanish/English bilingual school expanding its enterprise into this site.

    Like Kings School it is a minority interest specialist school and the woman from the school who was at the exhibition of their harshly dark 3-storey block of a design says it is not a private business, it is state-funded.

    Should it be given majority interest, publicly owned land? Not there and no. There is land going begging between Ellen Street by Hove Station all the way up to Old Shoreham Road and BHCC was offered a huge chunk of it for a school. They are not prepared to take it for a general entry council-run school. Why can’t this Spanish outfit get our sugar-daddy government to buy it for them?

  14. Fred Long Reply

    Jackie Lewis says that Valerie Paynter was not the aggressively opinionated woman at the consultation meeting. If so, I apologise. I don’t know the name of the woman in question but she was tall and had a couple of walking sticks for support.
    She should know that ward councillor Vanessa Brown was the cabinet member who agreed in April 2010 to investigate using Hove Park Upper School for a primary school with money from the Building Schools for the Future programme, I think it was called, OR a new primary school on the site of old depot. And the Building Schools for the Future programme has been curtailed.
    Last October (2012) the successor committee agreed a report which said, ‘The only site that the council owns that is available for a new primary school in Hove is the park depot, adjacent to Hove Park. This could be used to provide a new primary school within the next four years.’
    The report accepted that the location is far from ideal. It also said, ‘The local authority should notify the Department for Education (DfE) at the outset of its intention to seek proposals for a new academy/free school and confirm the site it will make available and that it will provide all the capital funding needed to establish the school. The cost of providing a new 2 Form Entry (2FE) all-through primary school is in the order of £6 million to £7 million, not including site acquisition costs. The cost of providing a new school falls to the LA if it is to meet a basic need for places regardless of whether the school is a free school, an academy or any other form of maintained school.’
    It is right to say that there are processes to be followed but the reality is that a school will be built on this site and the rules as they stand mean that it has to be a free school or an academy. The free school is a state-funded school. It is not a private enterprise. It helps no one to keep reading attempts by Valerie Paynter to mislead people on this point. It is a shame that more schools do not try to teach a foreign language to receptive youngsters before they learn that it’s supposed to be difficult.
    As she seems to concede now, the council’s support for this school and this site – unlike the controversy over the BHASVIC field – mean that neighbours should really focus on planning matters and things like traffic and parking. If I were the manager of the Co-op, I would make my car park, which is often empty when children are starting school, available to try to drum up business among parents.

  15. ...... Reply

    Thank you Fred for sticking up for the Billingual school. I too was at the meeting held last night and as a parent of the school was disgusted with the rudeness of some people. Everyone has a right to an opinion but rudeness and insulting comments is not required. The school is an amazing school the teachers are amazing and what an oppurtunity for the future generation to become billingual.
    The population is growing , more children , more cars on the road etc we need to grow with it!

  16. Neil Reply

    I live in the local area and struggled to find a school placement for my children due to the huge demand. Thank goodness for the Billingual Primary School! The school is vital to the local area and should be welcomed by local residents. It could be worse, it could be a waste disposal plant or other industrial unit. Instead it will be a joyfull and vibrant primary school.

    This is NOT a Spanish School as Valerie Paynter is trying to make out. It is an English school that uses Spanish and English in its every day lessons. My English children are fortunate that by the end of their schooling at BPS, they will be fluent in Spanish….a fantastic opportunity for them and for all lucky enough to be admitted to this school.

    As a local resident, we are fortunate to have so many schools around us. It creates a nice environment, and if the biggest worry we have is collecting the odd piece of litter from our front garden, or having to park a few meters away from our front door during the times parents are collecting or dropping off their children, then we should thing ourselves very lucky.

  17. Tom Hudson Reply

    Valerie Paynter needs to understand that this school is not a minority interest school. Any child can apply to attend. Surely the majority of parents would wish for their children to have an opportunity to learn another language at such an early age, something which, at a national level, we have largely failed at for many years. This is illustrated by the fact that the school is in only its second year and is already oversubscribed.

    To insinuate that in this case the government is acting as the school’s sugar daddy is nonsense. Yes, it is paying for a school that is desperately needed (and more are). If it did not, it would have to provide the local authority with further cash in order to fund more school places elsewhere, so it all comes out in the wash.

    The term ’Spanish School’ seems to lead to confusion. This school is an English school that teaches Spanish in addition to the rest of the usual curriculum. I suspect that the term ‘Spanish School’ has led Valerie Paynter to think of the school as a school for ‘foreigners’ or for Spanish speakers only, and that this does not sit well.

    Why should it not be given “majority interest, publicly owned land”? It is just another state school like all others, it has to follow the standard curriculum like all the others, and it is open to any child. So yes, it should.

    Regarding traffic, there is already an informal agreement with the co-op which will allow those children that travel to and from school via car to use the car park. Many children will be travelling by bus. Besides, the increase in traffic around the area will be for around only 20 minutes twice a day.

  18. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Tom would you support a Mandarin/English state school? Or an Arabic/English school. Why privilege the Spanish language over all others by awarding it a state-run school? Because it is the one demanding public land?

    Lessons will be in Spanish and in English. It is a bilingual school. All language teaching is important and belongs in every curriculum. No need for a specialist school, like it is the only opportunity to learn Spanish. And it should not be compulsory
    y for a child to learn Spanish just so it can have a school place.

    A very small number of people seek to bully this into being, with personal insults and accusations.

  19. ....... Reply

    I understand that the council will no longer pay for the upkeep of the Hove Park bowling green which looks a mess already. A nice car park on that location would no doubt help solve the parking issues raised.

  20. james Reply

    Paul I am also a resident of Hove Park.

    I just think people should stop being so selfish and let others have homes and schools.

  21. james Reply

    Paytner – I don’t know if you are a councillor or something but you are being very vocal on various websites so perhaps you represent an interest group?

    Rather than try and stop schools and homes being built because of noise from traffic perhaps you could you put your energy into preventing a serious accident in the following locations:

    – King George VI/Goldstone Crescent. If you work like I do then you will probably have noticed that it is only a matter of time before there is a fatal accident here!!

    – Along Goldstone Crescent/Hove Park idiots drive 40-50 mph. I am surprised children leaving/going to the park have not been killed.

    Traffic calming or traffic lights are needed!!

  22. Paul Reply

    As we have been presented with a fait accompli and the issues being raised are all periphery there is not point in asking for our opinions / input. Perhaps at some point the Council and other interested parties in this whole project will learn to be honest and open about the matter and give people an opportunity to discuss prior to any decisions being made. It is sickening that yet again we are being sold a dummy.!

  23. Richard Taylor Reply

    As a resident who accepts that new schools are, in essence, a good and necessary thing, it is clear that the planned site for the bi-lingual school is desperately flawed. Rather than assuming a local resident is automatically a nimby, those proposing and supporting the plan should let a resident show them what’s actually going on on a daily basis. As a resident, let me give you the keys to my front door and car for a day, and I assure you that any non-resident would see things in a very different light. Set aside the paperwork, ideals and blueprints – and I repeat that the idea of a new bi-lingual school in Hove is a good thing in principal – put on a coat and pair of comfortable shoes, and physically spend a day observing traffic and people around the proposed site from 6am to 6pm. Then do it again for a full week. The offices beside Hove Park have already overloaded local parking and traffic flow to a chronic level. Watch how many drivers circle the local streets and fight over spaces; or else park on pavements, beside roundabouts and across verges. Overspill from office traffic was then exacerbated by the new system of traffic lights through the Neville Rd bend, down to Old Shoreham Rd. Believe me at rush hour and other peak times, you cannot move. Even the KEEP FREE road markings are ignored or become a venue for road rage. Neville Rd is a main conduit into/out of Brighton & Hove for the A27. It always has been. It was already busy. Parents of Hove Park School park on corner verges, causing safety dangers. Southbound cars turn into the Co-op car park and proceed down past the Greyhound stadium, navigating speed bumps, to bypass the jam on Neville Rd and cut back in via Orchard Rd or Orchard Gardens, where office workers are already busy circling in vain for a parking spot. Office workers park on allotment parking around Eridge Rd/Neville Avenue, which causes tailbacks for parents dropping off at Aldrington Primary. The approach up the side of Woodland Drive to the lights beside the Engineerium is also at a standstill because the lights at the top allow four vehicles to pass before changing to red – assuming those concerned can execute a hill start efficiently, and the parking spaces at the bottom of Woodland drive, along the side of the park, block the free-flow of traffic anyway. Meanwhile back at the mini-roundabout at the Co-op/Corals car park exit, drivers assume that a one lane road has magically become two lanes and the standstill along Neville Avenue for those waiting for the roundabout gets longer and longer. How can anyone genuinely stand up and say that throwing a School into the heart of this mess, designed for 600 children, will in no way add to the overload? Pressure on Hove Park itself is a whole other, though parallel issue. Are those in favour prepared to guarantee a new school will introduce no further impact on a green space which is already bowing under the weight of army fitness regiments, summer barbeques, litter, vandalism and overcrowding? I draw one other detail into the mix for those non-residents putting on their coats and shoes – stand at the bottom of The Drove, between the offices and the proposed School site and tell me what you hear. The constant humming of air condition units should be a major concern. Children in the playground may need to shout louder than normal to hear each other during playtime. Not a problem as a resident, but of concern as a fellow parent.

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.