The proposed conversion of Holy Trinity Church into a medical centre and pharmacy has moved a step closer with the submission of a planning application.
The Sackville Medical Centre and Central Hove Surgery wish to relocate to the 150-year-old Grade II listed church, with a pharmacy also built on the site.
A new western porch entrance would be created onto Goldstone Villas, and two floors built inside the church.
But the plans have already drawn stiff opposition from pressure group SaveHOVE, which says the new pharmacy could threaten Boots in George Street, and people being dropped off at the centre could disrupt the bus stop and taxi rank outside.
It also questions why the Eaton Villas side of the church grounds is not included in the application.
In a post on its blog, the group says: “Fig tree uprooted, taxi drivers/rank compromised, Boots compromised, Goldstone Villas gets a little more crazy, the proposed future use of the Eaton Villas side of the church grounds is likely to be developed for – say – housing by the church, quite separately, and we get a pharmacy in Goldstone Villas that nobody needs but which the applicants insist is required for their plans to be viable.”
However, the NHS believes this is a valuable use of the site. In the application, Deacon and Richardson Architects says: “The proposals offer the chance to convert a closed church in an imaginative way while paying due regard to the historic fabric of the Grade II listed building.
“The conversion offers a chance to bring this closed church back into good repair and provides it with a sustainable future use to the community of Brighton and Hove for many years to come.
And in a letter supporting the application, Sackville Medical Centre’s senior partner Dr Tim McMinn says the centre has been looking to expand for eight years now.
He said: “The centre of Hove needs a modern primary care facility with the ability to flex and adapt to the ever changing landscape and demands of healthcare and this cannot be achieved in the present accommodation.
“The Holy Trinity project will be a proud achievement for all those involved in its development and a beacon of excellence in local healthcare provision going forward.”
The church was last used in 2008, and its parish dissolved in 2010.
An original scheme to demolish the church and allow Hyde Housing Association to build homes there was abandoned after a public consultation