Hove neighbours fight “crazy, Manhattan-style” towerblock

The proposed development, with the Artisan flats to the left and the Palmer and Harvey offices to the right


Hove neighbours are banding together to fight plans for a nine-storey tower block in their street.

Hove-based Imex Exhibitions says it has outgrown its Ellen Street home and wants to build new offices, a basement car park and 54 flats – ten of which will be affordable – on the site of the old Hyde Housing Offices in Davigdor Road.

But people living around the site say they are opposed to “crazy, Manhattan style tower blocks” and dozens have already objected since the planning application was registered last month.

Twenty four have written to object, and petition calling for buildings along Davigdor Road to be limited to six storeys launched on Wednesday 14 November has 47 signatures. Meanwhile, 16 people have written in support.

Campaigner Sam Goult said: “There’s strong community objection to the type and size of the buildings, as well as the lack of social housing.

“It seems like this is a common problem across Brighton and Hove right now.

“We aren’t against welcoming new neighbours, just crazy Manhattan style tower blocks that are out of character with what makes Hove, Hove.”

He also pointed to the Artisan flats development next door, where many flats are still empty. He said: “This seems like a copy-and-paste scheme and isn’t the right solution.

“This seems like the first domino of many that are going to fall in the whole Peacock Estate, with redevelopment of Wickes, Tapi Carpets and Spitfire House no doubt coming in the future.”

Goldsmid ward Labour Councillor Jackie O’Quinn has also objected to the plans, saying the exhibition for the application was poorly attended as very few residents knew about it and it was not clear where it was taking place.

According to developer Withdean Commercial, the property company set up by the Imex Group to develop the site, only ten people went along after 1,000 invitations were sent out.

She is also concerned about the lack of affordable homes. She said: “I was told due to the high cost of purchasing the land that the percentage of affordable housing would be nowhere near [the counci’s target of] 40 per cent. This response was deeply concerning.

“However, the flats are likely to be very expensive and even at 80 per cent of cost they would not be affordable to the majority of people who live in the city.

“This application, if granted, would most likely suffer the same fate as Artisan, where a tiny number of flats have been sold due to their high cost.”

In 2015, planning permission was granted to Hyde Newbuild for a staggered block of four, five, seven and eight-storeys with a mix of offices and 68 homes on what is now an empty site.

The block proposed by Imex is part five-storey and party nine-storey, and includes 894sqm of office space.

In its application the company said: “The Imex Group prides itself on being a truly local employer but with a genuine global reach.

“Of their 60 members of staff, 53 [88%] live within the Greater Brighton City Region with many using public transport to commute to work.

“However, the group’s business growth including new job creation is limited by the existing premises and a larger new office space in the region of 900 sqm is critical to the sustainability of the businesses.”

A Facebook Group called Hove Housing Futures bringing campaigners together was set up in late October.

A public meeting organised by the Hove Housing Futures group will be held at St Luke’s Church, Old Shoreham Road, from 8pm on Wednesday 21 November.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    I wonder how many people complained about places like Embassy Court or the much nearer to this development Furze Hill and Wick Hall back when they were built in Hove.There is obviously a demand for more Apartments and they should be built as the need is obviously there.

    • 7DialsSeagull Reply

      Rolivan, you are wrong to say there is a clear need. Artisan next door could not sell theirs and eventually offloaded the lot to a housing association.

      We need affordable homes for the people of Brighton and Hove but that is not what is on offer here. This is in fact a major missed opportunity across the whole of Lyon close trading estate, proposing the wrong type of housing at the wrong price, wrong density and offering no solution to our housing crisis. High-rise madness!

      • Rolivan Reply

        So there was a need if Artisan sold them off to a Housing Association, perhaps with luck the same will happen with this development.

  2. Graham T Plumber Reply

    As far as I was aware. Wickes and Tapi carpets aren’t going, but the other 3 merchants in Lyons Close will be

  3. Al Reply

    Manhattan style TOWER BLOCK?!?!😂 it’s 9 stories tall!!! Time to get a grip and move on am sick of NIMBYS hindering progression!

  4. Daniel Holmes Reply

    The article does not mention the second application adjacent to this, on the site of Graham Plumbers, Toolstation and Howdens, for another 163 flats in blocks up to 10 stories high. This currently has over 100 objections, and offers no affordable housing at all.

    In response to Rolican, there were originally plans to demolish the rest of the seafront in Hove and replace with Embassy Court-style blocks. Reactions to this contributed to the formation of the Regency Society in the city – so, yes, people did complain back then!

  5. Julia Hamblin Reply

    Has anyone realised that this is yet another “Bloom” development ??!! So far, they have planning permission to build the IKEA and 400 houses out by the old Sussex Pad at the airport which will choke the A27 permanently and forever. They are also trying to get permission to build 45 residential units on New Church Road with no social housing and now this one on Davigdor Road where they wont build the requisite amount of social housing there either !! I think we an all agree that the Blooms aren’t exactly bad businessmen and the likelihood that they bought these two developments at a price that would mean they would make a loss, is next to none. They seem to be on a mission to redevelop most of the town !! If the price wanted for the site was too high then they shouldn’t have bought it. It shows blatant disregard for policy to just go ahead knowing that they would then start bleating that they couldn’t afford to provide the social housing that Brighton and Hove policies demand. It is a policy, not a desire. They must have to comply with adopted Policy.

  6. Peter Reply

    How is this going to effect traffic on an already overloaded area and how are they going to access this area ( another set of traffic lights) and where are they going to get the extra parking spaces from

  7. Happy Reply

    Another soulless design proposed by the Blooms. Driven by greed and lacking any regard to their Brighton and Hove heritage. Wish they would think outside the box a bit. We don’t need anymore ugly concrete blocks!

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