Decision due on £25m Hove flats scheme

The fate of a £25 million scheme to build flats and offices in Hove is due to be decided by councillors next week.

The plans involve demolishing three buildings made up of six semi-detached houses in Portland Road, Hove, between the corner of Olive Road and the Portland Road Trading Estate.

In their place, Martin Homes hopes to put up two buildings – three and four storeys high – containing 47 flats and 1,650 square metres of commercial space.

The ground floor of the proposed 40ft building fronting Portland Road is expected to include offices and possibly cafés or restaurants or even a gym.

More than 230 people have contacted Brighton and Hove City Council to object to the scheme which includes basement parking for 63 cars as well as bicycles and motorbikes.

It is also expected to include 19 “affordable” homes – just over the 40 per cent level expected by the council – two of which would be fully wheelchair accessible.

Martin Homes submitted its planning application for outline planning permission more than two years ago on a site where planning permission already exists for two three-storey blocks of flats.

The company is also currently adding a floor to the neighbouring Martello Lofts, formerly the local VAT office for Customs and Excise, which became Revenue and Customs before the offices were turned into flats.

The latest application has won the backing of officials and is due to be decided by the council’s Planning Committee next Wednesday (8 July).

A report to the committee said that objectors opposed the scheme, saying that it was “out of character” with the area, an overdevelopment and the wrong place for a four-storey building.

They also criticised the high proportion of studio and one-bed flats – more than half – in an area where there is a shortage of family homes.

One objector, whose details were redacted on the council website said: “The developer’s consultants referred to wide carriageways with parking either side, fair enough for Portland Road but Olive Road?

“Without another means of getting across the railway, no development of this size should be considered by the council.

“As a community, we want to enhance our neighbourhood and build on brownfield sites or infill sites, not demolish attractive homes which reflect the character of the area.”

Another anonymous objector wrote: “I’m not opposed to the creation of additional houses. I know the country (and indeed local authority) needs to build a significant number of properties to keep up with demand.

“But that does not excuse approving a poorly designed property in this area. This is being squeezed into a space that is not fit for purpose.”

If the application is approved, Martin Homes is expected to pay almost £400,000 in “developer contributions” towards sustainable transport, parks and gardens, local employment, sports and education.

Martello Lofts in Portland Road in Hove

The site is about quarter of a mile from Portslade station and the developer would be expected to draw up a five-year travel plan for people living in the flats.

This would include subsidised bus and/or train tickets for at least a year and subsidised membership of a car club membership and the Brighton bike share scheme.

Martin Homes said that its Portland Road proposal was one of a number of local projects, including housing schemes in Whitehawk Way and Buckingham Road, in addition to the Martello Lofts extension.

The London business also has at least four other projects in Sussex – Slaugham Manor, near Crawley, the old sorting office, in Hassocks, Cyprus Road, in Burgess Hill, and the old brewery, in Wivelsfield.

David Martin, of Martin Homes, said: “Martin Homes are happy to continually bring new investment into Brighton and Hove, creating much-needed high-quality affordable homes and jobs for local people.

“Portland Road and its residents deserve the best and, after two years of negotiations with the local planning authority, we are now confident of delivering a scheme which benefits all.”

  1. saveHOVE Reply

    A noisy frontage onto Portland Rd with car exhaust pollution for proposed residents living too close to the road is not high quality anything.

    These nice proper family homes contribute to the identity of this part of Hove & provide better family-appropriate accommodation than cramped flats with their lack of privacy.

    Converting redundant office and retail spaces to get housing numbers up will satisfy City Plan demands and offer abundant opportunity as the economic changes already coming are speeded up by coronavirus – and surely preferable to destroying the visible evidence of how Hove grew and the evidence of architectural & social values in successive eras. These houses are too good to lose but not Listable. Its a problem.

    • CT Reply

      Got £400,000 for ‘developer contributions’ & the extra under the table back-handers? No? Then it’s going through. Money and connections rule, not what’s right for the people that live here.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Whatever one thinks about this Application, where is your evidence for “back-handers”? And if you have this, why have you not gone to the Police rather than making idle comments here along such lines? What would you feel if people posted such allegations about your habits? Especially as you do not name yourself, we can all speculate.

  2. Resident Reply

    The congestion and pollution on Portland Road is already at a critical point without adding the extra flats. Olive Road is an emergency route for ambulances and fire engines. This development will put lives at risk. The new bike lane proposal on Old Shoreham Rd has already caused massive delays to traffic flow. The development is not acceptable at this location

  3. Edward Jones Reply

    Yes and guess what it will be the DFLs that’s (Down from London) who move in. Londoners, who move to Brighton/Hove please dont ever refer to yourself as Brightonians because you’ve lived here for x numbers years. I find it so rude that people from London who move down here have the audacity to refer to themselves as Brightonians. If its so good in London then stay there.

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