Decision due on high-rise flats planned for busy Hove street

Councillors are due to decide whether to grant planning permission for a £32 million scheme to build 94 flats in a busy street in Hove.

A visualisation of the £32 million RKO scheme for 94 flats on the corner of Cromwell Road and Palmeira Avenue in Hove

Officials have advised them to back the seven-storey project but scores of neighbours have sent formal objections to Brighton and Hove City Council.

A report has been sent to councillors outlining the plans which include demolishing 72 and 73 Cromwell Road and 64 to 68 Palmeira Avenue and put up two blocks of flats.

The three-quarters-of-an-acre corner site currently includes the recently rebuilt CBabies nursery which was destroyed by an arsonist in a petrol bomb attack in November 2017.

As well the nursery, four traditional houses, typical of the surrounding Willett Estate, would also be knocked down.

The company behind the project, RKO Developments, had planned to build an 80-bed hotel and 80 flats on the site but came up with a revised scheme after facing considerable local opposition.

The developer said that there were already several tall buildings in the area, including Cromwell Court and Hovedene, both nine storeys high.

And the council recently approved a nine-storey block of flats at the other end of the cricket ground.

In its latest proposal, the 94 flats would be in two blocks up to seven storeys high on the corner of Cromwell Road and Palmeira Avenue.

RKO, run by Claire Leak, also plans to include 47 parking spaces in a basement car park at the site.

The company would be expected to pay about £800,000 in developer contributions including about £350,000 as a “commuted sum” for “affordable” housing elsewhere in Brighton and Hove.

An independent valuation report accepted that it would not be “viable” to included to include any affordable homes as part of the scheme.

But the council’s policy is that 40 per cent of the homes – or 36 flats – in a such a big project should be set aside for affordable housing.

The council has received 150 objections including emails from two of the three Goldsmid ward councillors – John Allcock and Marianna Ebel.

The third ward councillor, Jackie O’Quinn, also opposes the scheme and has encouraged neighbours to write to the council.

An artist’s impression of the previous RKO Developments scheme in Cromwell Road in Hove

Since a fresh consultation started last month, to reflect changes to the design, 26 more objections have been lodged with the council.

Objectors criticised the proposed scheme for being a poorly designed overdevelopment. They said that it was too tall, would add to traffic congestion and parking problems and put a strain on local services such as schools, doctors’ surgeries and public transport.

They said that the scheme would have an adverse impact on the Willett Estate Conservation Area and would be out of keeping with its surroundings.

The developer was criticised for a lack of consultation and for the scheme’s lack of affordable housing.

Opponents also objected to the proposed demolition of the CBabies nursery which was only recently rebuilt.

Some fear that the proposed scheme would also be a magnet for Airbnb “hosts” to let their flats to cricket fans among others.

One supporter wrote to the council praising the design and saying that the project would clean up the area where the existing houses were not cared for.

The council’s Planning Committee is due to decide whether to approve the scheme at a “virtual” meeting next Wednesday (2 September) starting at 2pm. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast.

  1. Teresa Lipson Reply

    This well written report has left out something very important: that approval has already been given for a massive redevelopment of the industrial site almost opposite this proposed development. It is the combination of the two large scale projects..neither of which will benefit local low income families…which local people object to.

    • bob Reply

      For the simple reason I’d imagine that the report is on THIS development and not any others nearby!

      Personally I don’t mind if they build it, I have a similar scheme being done near me, that doesn’t bother me either.

      You’re never going to get affordable flats unless they either do it for no profit at all (totally unrealistic unless you’re a charity), or put up the prices for the remaining purchasers to cover the discounted flats.

  2. Rupert Reply

    How much are the penthouses does anyone know?

  3. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I am not persuaded by Claire Leak. Her point is hardly waterproof.

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