A scheme to build a five-storey block of student flats on the site of a hand car wash at the Vogue Gyratory in Brighton has been rejected unanimously.
The proposal for 65 self-contained studio flats included communal areas, cycle parking, a plant room and storage for rubbish and recycling.
The applicant, the property developer McLaren, has already started work on a four-storey building on a neighbouring site. And it hopes to build another block on the other side of Lewes Road in the centre of the Gyratory.
Fourteen people living in neighbouring homes in Gladstone Place were among the objecters to the building which they said would tower over their homes.
Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee was told that the site – between the Bear pub and the Gladstone – was in an area with many HMOs (houses in multiple occupation). It is popular with students.
Planning agent Jim Tarzey, a director of Pegasus Planning Group, said that the building would sit in a tall building corridor and that there were taller buildings along Lewes Road.
He said that McLaren was developing the building next door. The latest proposed scheme had a wider front making it suited to an extra storey.
Mr Tarzey added that the proposed purpose-built managed student accommodation was needed in Lewes Road. It will free up family homes, he said, and contribute to the city’s housing supply.
Former Planning Committee chairman Les Hamilton was one of a number of members to set out reservations although several welcomed the scheme in principle.
Councillor Hamilton criticised the 18 square metre size of the proposed student flats when they would conventionally be twice the size. He added: “There’s too much development on this site.”
After the 12 members of the Planning Committee unanimously rejected the scheme in a meeting at Hove Town Hall, committee chairman Phélim Mac Cafferty addressed the developer.
He said that he hoped that they would be in touch with planning officials to discuss how the scheme could move forward.
Outside the meeting McLaren said that it would be in touch with the council planning department with the aim of submitting a revised application.
If this is done within six months, the company would avoid having to pay another £25,000 application fee.
It is believed that the scheme has already cost a six-figure sum and the total bill will rise as the proposal is redesigned and the supporting paperwork is completed.