Plan to turn Hove house into flats rejected

Plans to turn a detached house into a block of ten flats were refused by Brighton and Hove City Council planners.

More than 200 people wrote to the council to oppose the outline plans to demolish the house at 10 Shirley Drive, on the corner of The Droveway.

Concerns were raised about the size of the proposed building, as well as the risk of more flats being built in the area in place of other houses.

On behalf of residents, Ian Jungius said: “This proposal is wholly out of character in an area of single detached housing.

The Medical

“The design and number of flats in the area sets a precedent.”

He pointed out the proposed building would be “significantly higher” than the house next door, blocking their light.

Mr Jungius added: “There is a need for additional housing but it would be more appropriate to convert the existing building into flats.

“It would be out of character but would have less impact on the area and would be without the huge disruption of demolition.”

Hove Park ward Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown also spoke on neighbours’ behalf.

She said: “Residents in Hove Park are very concerned if this application is approved it just sends out a green light to developers that it’s ok to turn large houses in the area into flats.

“It would completely change the character of the area.”

The house at the corner of Shirley Drive and The Droveway

Councillor Brown was concerned about the impact on the neighbours who currently look out over a single-storey rear extension.

On behalf of the applicant, acting agent Alex Bateman said: “It is a detached residential building replaced with a detached residential building.”

He said that there were no objections from archaeology, ecology, Sussex Police, transport, planning or environmental health consultees.

Mr Bateman said that Hove Civic Society supported the application although it described the design as disappointing.

Ian Jungius

Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said: “It doesn’t go with the street scene and is very dominant on that corner … 212 objections is more than the Amex had.

“It’s an awful lot of objections and gives us an idea how strongly people feel in that area.”

Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said that there were areas of Hove Park ward in conservation areas or areas with special character but Shirley Drive was not among them.

He said: “The houses are all quite different designs and big. In terms of uniformity there is none.”

Seven councillors voted against the plans. They were Carol Theobald, Lynda Hyde, Jayne Bennett, Joe Miller, Leo Littman, Nancy Platts and Penny Gilbey.

A second vote was taken on formal reasons to refuse the application at which point Councillor Adrian Morris changed sides, making the vote eight to four.

  1. Josh Reply

    Shame. We need more smart flats (under 500k) for commuters in Brighton and hove. Why not focus affordable housing in poorer areas like portslade and white hawk where low paid workers live

  2. Carol Way Reply

    You failed to report that it had been recommended for approval by the council planners. The decision was purely a political one following the lobbying of councillors by residents. The comments re “design” were interesting as no design details had been submitted. It was an “outline” only application to agree the principle, not the design. It just proved that it was objecting for objecting sake, the application clearly had not been understood or even studied properly.

    I know the householder personally, it has only been submitted because they can not sell the existing house. There is no demand for substantial houses any more. The top end of the house market is completely stagnant. The applicants circumstances have changed and planning permission wouldn’t constitute a profitable development for them, far from it. They are just a family needing to move on… Brighton & Hove can’t meet its housing supply targets and here was a “windfall” site for them. As the reasons for rejection have no foundation it’s likely to go through on appeal, together with costs awarded, at the expense of all of us who pay Council Tax not just at the expense of the neighbours of Shirley Drive.

    • Will Harris Reply

      Interesting that Carol Way ‘knows the householder personally’… what a surprise that she backs him! Ludicrous to think this is anything but a money-making scheme by the owner.

      The councilors saw sense despite the bizarre and profoundly suspicious recommendation of the planning officer – the plan is clearly against local housing policy.

      Weird too that Ms Way suggests people objected for objecting’s sake – why would they object unless they felt strongly about it?

      This development had more objections than any other lodged last year in the whole of Brighton and Hove – it’s crazy to think someone can knock down their house and build a block of flats.

  3. James Byford Reply

    In response to Carol Way’s comment above, I for one have studied the scale drawings submitted by the opportunist property developer, which in fact do involve design and proposed bulk of the new building. The drawings are deceptive in various ways, significantly under representing the scale of the proposed building. On close study, the footprint is actually around 50 per cent larger than the existing house. This, despite the developer claiming the new building was similar in size and scale to the existing dwelling. Thankfully the planning committee saw this deception for what it was. There is massive local opposition to the proposals and if it does go to appeal or resubmission, careful attention will be given to the detail of the plans and their true scale will be revealed. The council deserve great credit for refusing the application – it’s a victory for anyone who wants to sleep in the knowledge that their neighbour can’t simply knock down their house and build a block of flats and car park in its place. As many on the planning committee mentioned at the public meeting, the proposal violates various local policies, so the grounds for refusal are strong and not rationally open to a successful appeal.

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