An old print workshop in Brighton is to be turned into three family homes after planning permission was granted this afternoon (Wednesday 7 October).
Sixteen neighbours and two councillors opposed changes to Media House, one of the bulkier buildings in North Road, Preston Village, part of a conservation area characterised by cottages and small houses.
Councillors Ken and Ann Norman, who represent Withdean ward, said in a letter: “Some residents of both North Road and Lauriston Road would suffer considerable loss of amenity as a result of overlooking and loss of privacy as well as increased issues of noise.”
Other issues raised by neighbours include pressure on car parking, overshadowing and a loss of light.
But members of the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee were told that the owner, Stonechris Properties, already had permission to change the upstairs offices into homes.
Although first and second floor offices would be lost as a result of the conversion, new office space would be incorporated in the extension to a neighbouring building, the Coach House.
Planning officer Paul Vidler said that the latest application was an improvement on the situation and added: “This building could be described as something of an anomaly in the conservation area.”
A report to the Planning Committee, meeting at Portslade Town Hall, said: “The loss of office (space) is considered acceptable in this instance and significant weight is given to the previously approved prior approval application which allows the conversion of the first and second floors to residential.
“The development would create an acceptable standard of accommodation for future residents.
“The proposed use and external alterations would enhance the character and appearance of the building and preserve the wider setting of the Preston Village Conservation Area.
“The development would not result in significant harm to neighbouring amenity through loss of light, outlook, privacy or increased noise and disturbance.”
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said that the key to this application was the prior approval which had been previously granted.
The Green former Planning Committee chairman said that an opportunity had been missed to start again on the site – a view supported by Labour member Councillor Adrian Morris.
Councillor Mac Cafferty said that he would reluctantly support the plans because if they were rejected, the applicant would probably win an appeal and be awarded costs against the council.
A fellow Green member, Councillor Leo Littman, said: “Actually, I quite like this. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
He said that the result would be an improvement with the benefit of three extra homes in the area.
Another former chairman of the committee, Councillor Les Hamilton, said that regulations had hemmed in the decision-making related to the site.
Eleven of the 12 committee members voted for the plans with one – Councillor Maggie Barradell – abstaining.
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