A developer has been granted planning permission to build a four-storey block of flats in Hove on appeal.
Perth Group Holdings, run by local property developer John Bacon, appealed against Brighton and Hove City Council’s decision to refuse permission for the nine flats at 77 Holland Road.
The site is currently used by a car and van hire rental business between the grade II listed Palmeira Yard and the locally listed Hove Hebrew Congregation synagogue.
Green councillor Hannah Clare, who represents Brunswick and Adelaide ward, opposed the plans to build flats on the site which is in her ward and within the Brunswick Town Conservation Area.
The Regency Society, Hove Civic Society and the Lansdowne Area Residents Association also objected to the plans.
Planning inspector Johanna Ayres said that the main issue was the effect that the flats would have on the neighbouring buildings and the wider conservation area.
In a report published on New Year’s Eve, she said: “It is clear when walking around the conservation area that it has evolved, and new, sometimes very modern designs, have been erected alongside the traditional street patterns.
“It seems logical that there are opportunities for good modern designs to sit alongside the more historical examples of architecture where those developments reinforce and enhance the qualities of the conservation area.”
She said that the proposed block of nine two-bedroom flats would be a similar height to Palmeira Yard and the staggered design would create a “comfortable transition” in height from the synagogue.
She added that, unlike the existing use of the site, the proposed landscaping “would provide an opportunity to enhance the green corridor and encourage biodiversity”.
Neighbours raised concerns about overlooking and disruption in 39 letters of objection to the scheme.
But Ms Ayres said that it would not cause “significantly harmful overshadowing” or more intrusive overlooking.
None of the nine flats would be classed as “affordable” even though council policy is for 20 per cent of homes to be affordable in schemes of five or more homes.
The planning inspector said: “The proposal would not be able to support a financial contribution and remain viable.”
Mr Bacon indicated that he would be willing to pay £365,000 to the council to help fund affordable housing elsewhere in Brighton and Hove in correspondence with the Planning Inspectorate about a similar previous set of plans in 2017.
He submitted an appeal because the council had not decided the planning application quickly enough.
But planning inspector Richard Aston turned down the proposal and said that, while he had some sympathy with Mr Bacon’s position, he had not submitted the necessary paperwork in time.
Green council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty, who also represents Brunswick and Adelaide ward, wrote a joint letter with Councillor Clare to let residents know the result of the latest appeal.
They said: “We have learnt in the past few days that the government’s planning inspector has granted the application, despite the views of our community.
“This means that the flats will be now built against the wishes of our area.
“We are sorry to bring you this news. We wanted to reassure you that despite this outcome, we will continue to stand up for the views of our neighbourhood.”
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