Flats above old department store approved

Councillors unanimously agreed to an extra floor on a former department store building.

The plans for Hill House at 53 Western Road, Hove, involve changes to the existing roof extension to create eight extra flats and new terraces on the third and four floors.

Work will also involve creating new terraces and replacing all the plastic windows in the building, which was once the site of Hills of Hove department store.

At Brighton and Hove City Council’s virtual Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 17 September, Brunswick and Adelaide ward councillor Hannah Clare spoke against the application on behalf of Landsdown Area Residents Association.

Councillor Clare said: “There are a few concerns about the impact on the listed buildings in the area.

“It adjoins to 55 Landsdowne Place, but what stands out primarily for me is the impact on residents of Holland Mews.

“Holland Mews is directly behind this building, and already they suffer from a lot of vehicles going up and down that road.”

Neighbours were concerned about the impact of being overlooked by proposed balconies.

Councillor Clare asked for conditions restricting construction vehicles heading down Holland Mews, as people living their already experience heavy traffic from vehicles delivering to the Sainsbury’s store.

John McLean, director of Morgan Carn Partnership, confirmed the developer would accept a condition preventing construction traffic moving through Holland Mews.

He  also confirmed plans to restore the Hills of Hove mosaic outside the Starbucks coffee shop.

Mr McLean said: “The Hills of Hove department store was quite iconic as a building when I was growing up.

“Our proposals, including replacement of the plastic windows and extensive refurbishment, and mending the harm caused by the ugly, 1980s mansard roof, will rejuvenate this locally listed building and reinstate its landmark status along Western Road.”

Committee chair Green councillor Leo Littman, who said he spent the first 20 years of his life in Hove, was delighted with the plans.

He said: “It’s a really nice additional makeover.

“I’m delighted the mosaic will be reinstated. It was a bit of a Hove landmark, and it’ll be lovely to see it back in its full glory.”

Conservative councillor Joe Miller said: “I think the design improves the look of the building by getting rid of the old 80s extension mansard roof.

“It gives us additional units for the city and nearly £500,000 in affordable housing contribution. What’s not to like.”

Labour councillor Daniel Yates backed this view and said: “What a massive improvement.

“It’s really good to see a developer that’s truly engaged with the process and is coming forward with a sensible set of plans that helps to resolve part of our housing crisis.”

As part of the application, Hill House Investments Limited is expected to make a 20 per cent financial contribution towards affordable housing of £477,500.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    How can the Applicant describe the department store as “quite iconic”? It was either iconic or it wasn’t. In any case, the adjective iconic is over-worked. As are “jewel in the crown” or “fit for the twenty-first century”.

  2. saveHOVE Reply

    No houses will be destroyed in the production of these newbuild flats.

    The whole scheme seems positively worthwhile & works WITH the area and site – for once!

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