Councillors approve £67m 18-storey Hove Gardens scheme for 216 flats

Councillors have approved a £67 million scheme to build more than 200 flats in blocks up to 18 storeys high close to Hove station.

The company behind the scheme, Watkin Jones, said that it hoped that the warehouses currently on the site could be demolished later this year.

And it hopes that the “build to rent” scheme, in Ellen Street, backing on to Conway Street, could be ready for its first tenants in April 2023.

Watkin Jones’s application for 216 flats was approved by Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee in a “virtual” meeting this afternoon (Wednesday 2 September) by six votes to four.

The scheme – known as Hove Gardens – also includes a community area and space for shops, offices or cafés.

Neighbours and Goldsmid ward councillors praised Watkins Jones for the way that it had engaged with the people locally.

Green councillor Sue Shanks and the former council leader, Labour councillor Daniel Yates, said that good community engagement resulted in improved schemes.

Members said that the Watkin Jones proposal was better than a previous project, granted permission by a government planning inspector in January last year, even though the new scheme was taller.

Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum representative Mike Gibson said that the design and streetscape had been improved thanks to public consultation.

Mr Gibson said: “A big plus is that this is the first virtually car-free development in the Hove Station Quarter.

“It is a first and will hopefully fit into the master plan for the area and ensure the whole area is car-free in accordance with the neighbourhood plan.”

Watkin Jones’s planning consultant Nick Green said that no parking would be available on site and that tenants would not be able to apply for parking permits in the area.

Mr Green said that an independent report found that it was not viable to include “affordable” housing on the site but the company appreciated the community’s views on the subject.

It had therefore agreed to provide 10 per cent of the flats for “affordable” rent, at an average 25 per cent discount to market rents.

An artist’s impression of the Hove Gardens scheme looking west along Ellen Street

The plans include 31 studios, 101 one-bed flats, 73 two-bedroom flats and 11 with three bedrooms, making 216 in total, providing homes for about 600 people.

At least 10 of the flats are expected to be wheelchair accessible.

One councillor asked for details of rent levels for the scheme compared with homes in the area and was told that the new flats would cost hundreds of pounds a month more.

But Watkin Jones said that rents included Sky TV, high-speed internet and access to an on-site gym.

Labour councillor Nick Childs voted against the scheme, saying that he objected to the loss of parking spaces in the area and the lack of affordable housing.

He said: “Once again we have a wealthy developer developing in our city and providing insufficient affordable housing.

“A 75 per cent reduction is not affordable for the 9,500 people on our housing list.”

Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh said that she had looked at the viability report which suggested that the scheme would make an £8 million profit.

She said: “If this scheme cannot deliver more than 10 per cent affordable homes then we should reject it and ask them to come back with a different scheme.”

Green councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones said that a one-bedroom flat would cost £200 a month more to rent than the “local housing allowance”.

But she voted for the scheme because it would be car-free and next to Hove station.

Independent councillor Tony Janio voted against the plans because he said that it was “nonsense” to suggest that a scheme of more than 200 homes would be car-free.

Three warehouses in Ellen Street would be demolished to make way for the Hove Gardens flats

Conservative councillor Joe Miller said: “The housing is much needed in the city as we are living through a housing crisis. People are struggling to rent and this area is crying out for development.”

Labour councillor Chris Henry, who represents neighbouring Westbourne ward, was also happy to see the “industrial” site turned into housing.

He said: “For those of us who live and work in this area, it’s a real dump. It’s a very unpleasant area and this regeneration is really welcome.”

  1. Jon Reply

    It’s not really surprising that the warehouses are a real dump if the company that own them want to get planning permission to knock them down
    Allowing a building to fall derelict is part of the planning process and as the land is an asset which can be borrowed against the developer has time on it’s side

  2. Alicia Reply

    I hope all are actually affordable eg 300pm for a 2 bed. Should be cheap for key workers. Unemployed and those on universal credit and single mums. Not for people with fancy jobs

    • Robin Hislop Reply

      Dream on. The going rate for a cheap 2 bed in Brighton was £400 a month 25 years ago!

    • Alan Rogers Reply

      They have already said the rents will be
      Studio £900pm
      1 Bed £1000pm
      2 Bed £1200pm
      3 Bed £1400pm

    • bob Reply

      Well if the Tories hadn’t legalised the sale of council houses (around 4.5 million council houses to date) in the 1980’s under Maggies 1980 “Right-to-buy” scheme, and hadn’t restricted councils from borrowing against their assets to build more to replace them, and now councils pay to rent for ex council houses at commercial rates to house council tenants to a number of private landlords who now own them, and Labour never repealed the legislation when in power… All fact, all Googleable.

      Politicians stink, they caused the housing crisis, as homeowners were found to tend to vote Conservative, hence the aim of the Tory policy in the first place to grow their voter base! Not fiction, all very well known.

  3. Alan Rogers Reply

    They have already said the rents will be
    Studio £900pm
    1 Bed £1000pm
    2 Bed £1200pm
    3 Bed £1400pm

  4. Joyce Bishop Reply

    So Brighton for the Students and Hove for the suits/professionals .Pushing young familys & old people on benifits out area.

  5. Rolivan Reply

    I think if they had tried this anywhere other than next to blocks of Council Flats they would have been rejected like the Cromwell Rd proposal was.

  6. Peter Reply

    Little London here we come that’s what they are changing Brighton and hove into

  7. Sazbo Reply

    I for one am glad to see a ‘build to rent’ building going up. I’m currently living in one and it’s fantastic for renters who have no desire to get onto the property ladder. It works much better when it’s run more like a business, rather than a money-grabbing landlord/lady who won’t allow any pictures to be put up or rubbish like that. Also it provides more security for renters and there is no fear of the owner suddenly wanting the sell their flat!

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