Demolition of Hove Park cafe approved ‘on the sly’

Posted On 12 Jul 2018 at 3:21 pm

Hove Park Cafe by Simon Carey on

Users of the Hove Park Cafe say they are aghast that plans to demolish the building were approved behind closed doors with little or no consultation.

Last month, a new rule was passed stating that all changes to Hove Library should be decided by committee after controversial changes to its layout were approved under delegated powers by officers – and the rule could be extended to all council-owned buildings.

However, it will come too late for the Hove Park Cafe, which is to be knocked down and replaced with a larger, Japanese-inspired building, complete with pizza oven.

And two trees are also due to be felled, an elm and a cherry, with concerns that another cherry and a sycamore could also be affected.

Resident Bonny Holland, who can see the cafe from her home, said: “I’m concerned mainly that locals have had no input into this process. The alcohol licence was unopposed which is very surprising, plus trees will be felled.

“The architects were boasting on Twitter about their questionnaire. There were 80 positive comments on the planning site and not one objection which is strange.

“It was built in 1925, and nobody from Heritage or local history groups defended it in the application process which I think is sad.”

Hove Library campaigner Chris Hawtree said: “This slipped through planning on the quiet. And, as with the Carnegie Library, it has been done on the sly.”

An artist’s impression of the new cafe

The application was submitted by Gino Fox, whose Hove Park Community Cafe Ltd leases the building from Brighton and Hove City Council. His architects Koru said: “This Japanese-inspired rebuild of the Pavilion Tea House in Hove Park will provide a much larger indoor and outdoor seating area for the cafe, as well as a larger well-equipped kitchen and pizza oven.

“The [new] building is mainly constructed of timber and glass with a roof light providing natural light into the cafe. Its living green roof will disguise the cafe from the road view and embed it in its park setting.

“Long fixed benches and tables surround the interior and – as the cafe will be serving food and drinks into the evening – removal of some existing trees will allow late afternoon light onto the outdoor seating area.”

Planning officer Laura Hamlyn’s report, which recommended approval, said: “While the loss of the existing café would be contrary to policy HE10 [retaining buildings of local interest], mitigation has been offered provided an etched image of the pavilion café in the glazing to the front elevation.

“The proposed larger café would provide improved service to users of the park, and would result in only a small loss of open space.

“It is considered that harmful aspects of the proposal can be mitigated, and therefore the benefit of a larger café of a high standard of design is considered to outweigh the harm. On balance, the proposed development is recommended for approval.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The application was advertised on the weekly list and public notice (one on a post near the Pavilion Tea House, and another on a post Old Shoreham Road side of Hove Park). The statutory requirement for an application like this is either a public notice or letters to the adjoining addresses.”

  1. rolivan Reply

    Blame the local Councillors who must have known.Caroline Lucas often gets called 5 Homes,however Cllr Jayne Bennett does really have 5 Homes if the Councillors register of interests is true.

  2. Anna Barker Reply

    I don’t understand how anyone using the café didn’t know about it – they have had plans in there for some time. Yes the present building is pretty, but it is not fit for purpose, and it takes so long to be served due to their inadequate kitchen facilities that I often end up going elsewhere…

    • Christabel Cossins Reply

      I agree with Anna Barker. I’ve known about these plans for about 18 months I think! And I agree it’s just too busy sometimes. More and more people are using Hove Park and a larger cafe would cater for all.

  3. rolivan Reply

    If I lived opposite I dont think I would need to pop across the road for a coffee.The signs were possibly put there to keep people like you coming back until the new place is built.

  4. Tracy Seymour Reply

    What an ugly, out of place building ….it is awful and whoever designed it has no talent !

  5. Lynne Moore Reply

    Is the company paying for it to be built?

    • Issi R. Reply

      The lease holder is, yes.

  6. Marty truman Reply

    Having been a regular customer of hove park cafe for many years I wish them all the very best and am looking forward to the new building which enable the community to really enjoy the park. The building as it stands is definitely ready to be replaced and I am just glad that it will enable the wonderful staff who work there to provide an even better service for us all.

  7. Nigel Furness Reply

    Yet another of Hove’s character buildings condemned to death by faceless, anonymous beaurocrats elected by nobody. following on from the wanton destruction of part of the rotunda bookshelves in Hove’s Carnigie Library, by the same underhand tactics, one would have thought that this Council had learned its lesson.Well, new Council Leader Dan Yates, who has already demonstrated a refreshing willingness to engage with residents on local issues, really needs to learn this lesson too: Labour cannot win power in our City unless it wins sufficient seats in Hove. Please, Cllr. Yates, ensure that all planning applications relating to buildings of historic importance to the various parts of our City are NEVER AGAIN allowed to be conidered by ANYONE other than elected COUNCILLORS.

  8. Iain Chambers Reply

    That building isn’t of historic importance. It’s a run down Pavilion with poor access & facilities. I’m assuming the new building will have full accessibility and a decent kitchen. The parks in the city could easily be used deep into the evening with better lighting and facilities. We should celebrate an independent operator investing in better facilities & providing employment. Old doesn’t always equal good!

    • Ray Truman Reply

      Absolutely spot on! Yes I love the old building too – but despite valiant efforts by the people running the cafe it is past its best and there comes a point when we must face up to the inevitable. Ive known about the plans for absolutely ages and to say otherwise is completely wrong. People just don’t like change – even if it’s for the better.

  9. Vanessa Newton Reply

    Ok, yeah, it’s old and has a small kitchen. That’s what is so great about it. It attracts quiet people. Modernise it, and I bet you, it will soon be overcrowded with noisy people who normally would go to other venues which cater for them. Soon, there will be nowhere to go where you can feel relaxed and yeah, old fashioned.

  10. L Pettigrew Reply

    I have lived in Hove for 56 years and used the park as a child, as a mum and as a grandma. When making plans to update the cafe surely they could have maintained the design of the old pavilion that has been a part of the park for so long. I know youngsters will shout me down and tell me to move with the times but surely there is room for us all. Felling the trees for the new cafe will just be a start and set a precedence for future felling. Lord only knows what will start happening to the park. 🙁

    • Issi R. Reply

      Hiya, more trees will be planted than felled, this is a certainty 🙂
      Felling is only a last resort due to restrictions with the site and the larger size of the cafe, but the lease holder Gino is committed to planting additional trees and no protected trees will be touched.

    • Valerie Reply

      I’m with you!

      The present oavilion is pretty, atmospheric, refolent of a more gracious age – and inaccessible to anyone unable to use its steps.

      It has a verandah – hiw fab!

      So why could it not have been extended, built onto and given the extra capacity and accessibility needed? Job done!

      The new design has no verandah to shelter on if rain strikes and was designed without any thought of referencing the era which gave Hove this park

  11. Tracey Reply

    Improvements and investment and you still all

  12. Jacqui Rickman Reply

    I totally agree with Marty and Iain above.
    Although the existing building is pretty, it’s rotten and no longer fit for purpose. The planned building looks attractive to me.
    I am a dog owner and am excited that during the winter months, we dog walkers will soon be able to meet for a drink or snack in the park with our pooches after work.
    I really don’t think it will change in a bad way. It’s the same owner creating an attractive building and extending his menu to include pizzas and a glass of wine or beer. Sounds great to me!

  13. John Reply

    Will it be a Pizzahut? If so couldn’t it have a Starbucks incorporated in as well, since their coffee is much better?


  14. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Looks like a great improvement to the facilities at Hove Park.

    Good to see the local residents luckily enough to overlook this lovely park (which is there for all residents of the city) are “up in arms” and probably more worried about the possible impact on the value of their mansions.

    That “stuck in the past” Christopher Hawtree is against the scheme convinces me that the scheme will really be of benefit to the community. Just like he was against modernising library facilities with a move to a combined building at the museum site leading to all those job losses.

  15. Jean Smith Reply

    Love the old building tho I understand why it has to go. To be fair to Gino and the architects, the plans were on show for quite a while. The council, tho, does have form for sneaking plans through.

  16. Shireen Zarrabi Reply

    Absolute gutted, another money making scheme! It’s a beautiful old building which my family have visited since the 60s … I’m apauled! The huge cafe will be empty in the winter. I can always get a seat there at any time of the year, I visit because of family links not the shoddy service from the cafe.

  17. Richard Reply

    Having been told I’m not allowed to comment because I don’t reside in the area, I’ll just say that provided the correct procedures have been followed obtaining this new permission, and the leaseholder is paying for the rebuild, then it’s a democratic decision and should be abided by. I like it, so much better than the old dump.

  18. Bonny Holland Reply

    I’ve now been made aware that the alcohol licence is yet to be applied for- so I’ll be looking at the weekly lists to ensure I don’t miss this. The application was not placed in the Hove Park section of the weekly lists and so missed by many local people- you had to scroll down right to the bottom of the lists below other listed sections to see it in a special section at the end. I won’t be caught out by this again….. this building is old and possibly no longer able to cope as a cafe but could’ve been offered to the local community for another purpose and the new cafe relocated in the park. Without local debate no innovative ideas had any opportunity to be explored. The people who say they’ve known ‘for ages’ may be referring to the previous planning permission which lapsed, this is a new plan which was posted in November at a time when fewer people are visiting the cafe compared to other times and when the cafe is often closed too. Re dogs in the cafe- I’m not convinced they’ll be allowed will they due to H&S? My biggest concern is however pizza boxes and bottles of booze that sourced in this new cafe end up all over the park late into the night as revellers have extended parties beyond the cafe.

  19. Dave M Reply

    Not a democratic process – no communication to local residents, even Local Councillors not aware of it !!!
    Not one objection says it all
    FYI if I tried to triple the floor space of my house – quite sure the council would object .. and most of the people in the the thread @ the end of the day the local resident were not engaged in the planning application process – but seems for some that’s okay …
    At the end of the day the council can’t even collect the rubbish from Goldstone Creacent once a week – so not looking good for the glass rectangle.

  20. Sheila Crafter Reply

    This lovely cafe is such a pleasure to visit but surely the Council must do something about the Pavilion rat problem. I saw a large rat by the front of the cafe and one of the assistants pointed out the several rat boxes put out by the Council to address this problem. Rats are disease carriers-surely the Council should do much more to protect the public from harm.

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