Two identical blocks of flats planned next to Hove Park have been given the go ahead despite opposition from neighbours.
The majority of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee voted to approve the two schemes for a block of seven flats on both 55 and 57 Goldstone Crescent.
Developer Deller Holdings Limited plans to build two, three-bedroomed and five, two-bedroomed flats at each site.
During the virtual meeting, Thursday 17 September, Hove Park ward councillors Vanessa Brown and Samer Bagaeen spoke on behalf of residents opposed to the applications.
Councillor Bagaeen, a professor of planning at the University of Kent, said he represented not only his ward but also the Hove Park Neighbourhood forum.
He said the blocks failed to come up to standards put forward by the forum in the spring to protect the historic and residential character of the area.
However, planning officer Jane Moseley said the neighbourhood plan is not part of official council policy and therefore has no weight.
Councillor Brown said the proposed flats are “in the wrong place” when viewed from Hove Park.
She said: “Our greatest concern is that if passed, these applications will set a damaging precedent for our ward.
“These two family homes are in the middle of a long row of similar, spacious houses with pleasant gardens directly opposite Hove Park.
“Yes, on and very near the junction of Goldstone Crescent with Old Shoreham Road, there are some flats, but they are right at the end of the road which has a very different feel to where 55 Goldstone Crescent is situated.”
Ian Coomber of Absolute Town Planning, who spoke on behalf of the developer, Deller Holdings Limited, said the development almost fits into the footprint of the existing housing and would help people in the area “downsize”.
In response to Councillor Brown, he said the flats set a “positive precedent”.
He said: “The relationship of the scheme to the wider street scene, which is far from uniform, remains largely unaltered and does not impact on neighbours.
“A mix of three and two-bedroom flats is proposed which is designed to enable people who might want to stay in the area, but no longer need over-large homes, to scale down to smaller units.”
Mr Coomber added the Hove Park housing needs assessment shows an “abnormal number” of “exceptionally large” homes with low occupancy.
Green councillor Elaine Hills said the applications made sense.
She said: “There are only large family homes in the area, to say it should stay like that it just sounds very exclusive and almost snobby to say that most of us cannot afford to live in that area.
“To say that should continue, I disagree with that. This is welcome that more people on lower incomes can afford to live there.”
Conservative councillor Joe Miller supported the scheme after taking a look at the site ahead of the meeting.
He said: “I think this is a good number of units in the city with a good level of affordable housing (£238,750 for each application) a sum which we don’t see from other schemes.
“I like the design, it’s in keeping and has good materials.”
Councillors heard the applicant went forward with two applications rather than one because the sites have different owners.
Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh raised her concerns about the two applications as she felt the images did not represent the final result and voted against both applications.
Conservative councillor Dee Simson voted yes for 57 but no for 55 because she was worried it would have a more significant impact on the bungalow next door.
The application for 57 passed with eight votes for and one against, and 55 with seven votes for and two against.
Each application results in a 20 per cent affordable housing contribution of £238,750 and a sustainable transport contribution of £6,400.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.