Community campaigners have got more space after fighting a developer’s change of plans.
People in the Coombe Road area of Brighton were angry when the promised community space in plans for a new student block shrank from a café and meeting space to a tiny room previously earmarked for a bin store.
Developer SC Pelham Terrace asked Brighton and Hove City Council for changes to its original planning application for former Lectern pub site last June, prompting a backlash from neighbours.
The company has planning permission to put up a nine-storey block of student flats – known as the Student Castle – in Pelham Terrace in Lewes Road, Brighton.
It changed the ground floor into the Centre for Inclusive Music (CFIM), with community space significantly reduced.
The Coombe Road Area Local Area Team (CRALAT) held public meetings encouraging people to comment on the application.
Now the group is encouraging people to support the new plans.
There are now 46 letters of support, compared with the previous 64 objections.
A person who was initially against the application wrote anonymously on the council website: “I am pleased that the developer has accepted the commitment in the original planning permission to provide a community space for the local residents and that this now a more realistic, spacious and usable facility that will benefit those of us who additionally have to accept further student accommodation in our immediate neighbourhood.
“It is positive that the space allocated to the CFIM is more realistically matched to its very residential and main road location which will hopefully limit the concerns regarding noise, parking and safety and traffic that I previously held.”
Another person who was previously against the changes wrote: “The proposed community space is of a good size and will enable us to organise our meetings and the many other activities we have planned.
“Also, the music school sounds like it will be a very good facility, and the fact that our community will sometimes be able to use the auditorium for larger gatherings is most welcome.”
Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Labour councillor Daniel Yates welcomed the change after previously describing the move as turning a “mansion into a broom cupboard”.
He said: “This new offer from the developers really addresses the local community needs for meeting and event space in the Coombe Road area.
“I’m right behind their vision to bring an inclusive music facility alongside the community space, and I congratulate them and local residents alongside councillor Amanda Grimshaw in reaching a solution that everyone can support now.”
The old Lectern pub was declared an “asset of community value” in January 2016 – and residents say that there is little other community space in the area.
The new plans are available by searching for BH2019/01932 on the council website at planningapps.brighton-hove.gov.uk.