Hove residents, councillors and MP oppose high rise tower on seafront

Posted On 07 Dec 2015 at 11:56 pm
By Roz Scott

Hove residents gathered in force tonight (Monday 7 December) to express concern about a proposal to build a 17-storey tower containing 107 flats on the corner of Sackville Gardens and Kingsway.

Angelique Henderson, chair of the No To Sackville Tower campaign group, said: “We have only known about the plans for a couple of weeks and already more than 300 people have joined our campaign on Facebook.

“It’s not just residents of Sackville Gardens who are opposed to the tower – people from across Brighton and Hove have told us how worried they are.

The proposed seafront tower block for the corner of Sackville Gardens and Kingsway in Hove

The proposed seafront tower block for the corner of Sackville Gardens and Kingsway in Hove

“The council’s own planning guidance on tall buildings is based on a detailed independent study which categorically excludes Sackville Gardens conservation area as a zone appropriate for a high rise.

“We ask that whatever is proposed is of high architectural quality to enhance the area.

 

“The No To Sackville Tower committee would be fully behind a proposal of suitable height and design by an architectural firm with a track record in producing award-winning buildings.

“Other, much more modest designs, have been rejected on the grounds that they are too bulky or do not improve the area.

“It is difficult to imagine how this giant cylinder – which will loom over us and stick out like a sore thumb – could ever be approved by the council’s planning committee.”

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Hove Labour MP Peter Kyle backs the residents’ campaign and said he feared that the apartments would be too expensive and that the flats would be bought mainly by property speculators from abroad which would price yet more local residents out of the market.

Westbourne ward councillors Denise Cobb and Tom Bewick also feel the proposed tower is out of keeping with the neighbourhood.

Mrs Henderson and Valerie Paynter from Save Hove have started a petition which they hope to take to Brighton and Hove City Council when the full council meets on Thursday 17 December. They are petitioning for a planning brief – the rules of engagement for a particular site.

There is broad agreement that the site needs to be developed but residents want to limit the height of any new-build which they maintain should be no higher than the existing buildings.

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After the meeting Hyde said that the architects, Yelo, a Brighton firm, had won awards for its previous project with Hyde, the recently completed One Hove Park. Hyde was also pleased with the quality of the design for its seafront proposals.

These would provide much-needed homes at a time when the government was putting pressure on the council to meet a challenging housing target.

Hyde said that the seafront scheme was part of a mix of developments which, as a whole, were doing more to tackle housing need locally at every level than anyone else.

  1. Dermot Reply

    Saw the proposal on the BBC this morning, looks great. We need to be building up and this looks interesting at least. Interested to know more about the materials… It’s a shame that the local Councillors and MPs are simply objecting without offering an alternative plan for the homes that need to built!

    • Emily Gardener Reply

      The point many people seem to be missing is that there are many other areas within 2 miles of this site that would be far more suitable for a building of this height and nature. However, the Hyde Group are of course not interested in these sites, because they want the prestigious location to enable them to sell the supposed affordable new homes for exorbitant prices. The concept that this will be creating new homes for residents is utterly spurious. All you need to do is look at the Hove Park development to see this. We can provide new homes whilst being sympathetic to local surroundings; in this case it is actually a conservation area. People appear to be citing this mantra of ‘up not out’ without recognising that there are actually lots of areas on the outskirts of Hove before the downs where we could place high rise buildings without spoiling our architectural heritage and encroaching enormously upon existing homes.

  2. Ellen Street Reply

    We are desperately short of homes in Brighton and Hove. Our children are being pushed out and so are those who do vital jobs for comparatively little pay. When people are pushed out of the area but continue to work here, it adds to the congestion on our roads and public transport.
    Objecting to buildings like this also starves supply when demand is rising, pushing up rents and house prices. It’a a recipe for rewarding the rich and punishing the poor and even those on middle incomes.
    This stretch of the seafront already has a number of tall-ish buildings and I understand it’s in a tall buildings zone. The council previously approved a design for the King Alfred site just a few blocks away which was much taller and is busy drawing up plans for another similarly tall design at the moment.
    It’s hard to see how the council can turn down this design in these circumstances. If it does, I would be amazed if Hyde doesn’t win on appeal and has its legal costs paid by the council – i.e. those of us who pay council tax and would prefer it was used for social care, etc.
    I completely understand why immediate neighbours would object. The danger is that we lose sight of what matters most. We need these homes. The design is good. Anyone who cares for the poor and those who are struggling to afford local rents and house prices should get behind this scheme.

  3. saveHOVE Reply

    Please note the Planning Brief petition is a saveHOVE petition. The No to Sackville Towers Campaign will be raising a separate petition.

  4. Mark Henson Reply

    Ellen,

    I am afraid I have to question your authenticity. I have noted that earlier you have been trolling the local Councillors regarding this issue on Twitter. I can understand someone (i.e. residents) having a vested interest in opposing this development but for someone to be so passionate about being for the development, other than the developers, I am not so certain. That and the fact you follow a number of people on twitter but have absolutely nobody following you leads me to believe you might have a fake twitter account setup as part of the Hyde PR machine? I will be happy to be proved wrong.

    However… I will oblige with a post written elsewhere today…..Do you think Brighton is the only town in Europe with a housing crisis? The fact remains that most European cities, with much larger populations than Brighton/Hove and with similar land restrictions, manage to achieve high density housing by building more 5-6 story blocks. They build up in the outskirts of their cities and not beside their showcases to the world, which is the seaside in Hove’s case.

    I am told we need 30k new homes by 2030. Does that mean we are going to build 300 new high rises with 100 flats in each or does there need to be a more structured and coherent Brighton and Hove wide plan to ease the housing shortage? I hope the Council have a long term plan but the lack of anything being published makes me think there is none.

    Building a high rise is a lazy, short term way of achieving their housing “targets” and it will not even address the substance of the underlying issue i.e. homes for people (the poeple you mention in your post) to LIVE IN. High rises like these, with fantastic views, are generally sold to the “investment market” who will leave them vacant as part of the new “buy to leave” phenomenon. The people with nowhere to live now will not benefit at all and, with the precedent set, we will be left with a seafront full of high rises and there will still be no solution to the real and long term issue of people with nowhere to LIVE. Not to worry though we will still have lots of places for people to INVEST with developers getting richer on the back of us selling off our seaside for no benefit to anyone else.

    P.S. At Hydes One Hove Park development they were Marketing 3 bed flats for £500,000.the minimum share is 25% which is £125,000 the remaining share you pay rent on which is about £180.00 p.w. and on top of this there is a Service charge of approx. £150 00 per month. That works out to about £930 a month in addition to the mortgage payments on the £125k and all for a 25% share of the place – if that is affordable for the people you mention in your post then I will eat my hat.

    • Emma Reply

      Can you point to the exchange you reference on Twitter and the account? Can’t find any trace

    • Ellen Street Reply

      Mark, it is not trolling anyone to let them know your honestly held opinion in courteous terms and that’s all I did. Ellen Street is not my real name but I went along to the meeting and am not comfortable with the hostility shown by some people there hence I have chosen an alias based on a street close to my childhood home.
      I don’t work for Hyde and I’m not their cheerleader. I’ve spent a bit of time learning a bit more about them since the meeting and after reading your reply and other comments here and elsewhere. I’m not an unalloyed fan although they are at least building homes in Brighton and Hove. I understand your point about the Hove Park development and wish they would build more affordable homes for rent but it’s better to have new homes than no homes given our housing shortage as that’s pushing up house prices and rents.
      It seems to me that government funding changes have pushed Hyde and the other housing associations along a different path so that they’re not building the sort of homes which they traditionally built and that’s a shame. But, I repeat, it’s better to build some homes than no homes at all as we have a huge shortage.
      I dread to think where my children will end up living. My frail neighbour is unable to visit her children who live in Hastings which is all they can afford near here. And they are conscious of the cost of each visit, including petrol and parking and their time, as they are working parents, so she ends up lonelier and more isolated than she or they would like.
      In an ideal world, I would rather not have tower blocks anywhere in Brighton and Hove but the precedents have been set and the council has included tall building zones in its own plans. I think the design for this site is much better than some of the nondescript buildings along Kingsway already.
      You may well be right that some of the flats will be brought by investors from outside the area. But that doesn’t seem to be something that Hyde or the council can stop. We have the same situation inland in places like Moulsecoomb, Bevendean, Coldean and Hanover where student landlords are buying up family homes and turning them into student homes. Unless we build more homes, in those places as well as on vacant sites like the old Sackville Hotel site, the problems will only get worse and we will be pricing our children and the poor out of the local market more and more.
      Your point about density has some merit but in my experience, which may not be as wide as yours, cities like Paris have a mix of medium and high-rise. The vistas in Brighton are sensitive with all our Regency heritage. There probably aren’t any easy answers but please don’t think I’m operating from anything but the best of motives.

  5. Henry Boots Reply

    Ok I can understand neighbours being vexed, but I think it looks a great piece of design. I’d be interested to see all of the detail when the application is actually in, but my initial feeling is that we need this type of development.

  6. Peter Poole Reply

    I agree with Mark Henson. This plan does nothing to solve local housing need, except in perhaps meaning a few residents could upscale to this, releasing a few homes lower down the scale, and so on. But that would apply to any new homes, and they will not be restricted to local buyers. Providing more expensive places to allow influx into the town, as with the Marina flats, only adds to the local population. They want to close amenities like Hove Library while, paradoxically, squeezing in more residents to grab their council tax. The Marina development is being marketed in Saudi Arabia, making a mockery of the council’s case that housing need is a primary issue for them.

  7. Emily Reply

    I think Hyde need to look after the homes and their tenants they already have before making more !

  8. Mark Reply

    As an invester I’d definitely be interested in purchasing a unit or two.

  9. Roger M Reply

    I love this block it’s a great building. What is it in Hove (in particular) where vested interests hold things back. This is a no brainer for me. No sunlight impact, a great building and design, this puts Hove on the map. Sorry NIMBYs but it seems you are holding us back from competing on the world stage. .

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