The latest in a long line of attempts to build on a much-loved historical Brighton market has been dismissed on appeal.
Councillors defied officers’ recommendation to approve owner John Blake’s plans to build a one-storey block of eight offices on Diplocks Yard in North Road by voting almost unanimously to refuse the application in August last year.
Mr Blake appealed the decision – but this has now been dismissed by a government inspector because the development would badly affect people living in Queens Gardens.
Inspector David Reed said: “Although the proposal would preserve the character and appearance of the North Laine Conservation Area it would cause significant harm to the living conditions of the occupiers of Queens Gardens in relation to outlook.
“Consequently, notwithstanding the benefits of the proposal in terms of modern office floorspace, regeneration, local employment and its sustainable location, the appeal should be dismissed.”
However, as well as saying building offices there wouldn’t adversely affect the area, he also said that the loss of the market couldn’t be a planning consideration.
Despite this, residents said they hoped this marked the end of a decade of attempts to build on the plot. One neighbour said: “As a resident of queens gardens, I’m pleased to see that the planning inspectorate has made a definitive ruling – that development in Diplocks Yard cannot be allowed due to its impact on residential homes that back onto it.
“Hopefully this will call an end to the ten year long merry go round of applications, all of which have been refused. Perhaps we can now move towards using the market space in a positive way, to add to the rich culture of the North Laine area.
“I truly hope that the developer will finally see the strength of feeling locally and respect that.”
Since the application was turned down, many of the market traders have left the market, although a small flea market is still there.
The Edwardian yard was originally used for the storage of market barrows, but since 2009 it has been used as a flea market.
The dismissed application was the tenth time developers have applied to develop the site. Two previous applications were also dismissed on appeal, in 2009, when the site was vacant, and again last year.