Neighbours divided over plans for back garden house near Hove Park

Plans to build a detached house in a back garden in Hove have divided neighbours.

But they can expect to learn whether the latest planning application for a two-bedroom home near Hove Park will be approved at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 10 February).

The proposal is the fourth attempt by the owners to gain planning permission for a house there in eight years.

The previous three proposals were refused along with a similar scheme which involved putting up an outbuilding on a hardstanding.

The latest application was submitted last August by City Partnership Housing, which is run by the family of Brighton builder John Regan.

The company applied to Brighton and Hove City Council for permission to build a house in the back garden of 7 Woodland Drive, which is on the corner of Benett Avenue.

John and Sylvia Regan renovated the property after they bought it almost 20 years ago.

The family company, controlled by their son Daniel Regan, 48, would subdivide the plot and build a new house fronting on to Benett Avenue.

At a virtual meeting of the council’s Planning Committee due to take place tomorrow, neighbour Frances Valdes, a retired solicitor, intends to speak against the plans, which have the backing of planning officials.

She and more than a dozen other neighbours oppose the Regans’ plans – but Ms Valdes fears that people in the area are becoming worn down by the repeated applications for planning permission.

She said: “In our neighbourhood, there’s a real feeling that we want to keep the spaciousness. You can see from the people objecting these were proper objections because they don’t want this type of in-filling. Most of (the objections were) against a building in a garden.

“Many don’t get to know about it. It’s only because we mentioned it that they got to know this was going to happen and it is affecting everyone.

“A lot of people have said: ‘It’s been refused. They won’t grant it this time.’ Repeated applications just wear down the opposition – and this is happening now.”

7 Woodland Drive in Hove on the corner of Benett Avenue

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown, who represents Hove Park ward, which includes Woodland Drive, wrote to the council to object to the plans.

Councillor Brown said: “I am writing yet again to object to a house being built in the garden of 7 Woodland Drive fronting Benett Avenue.

“This is the fourth full planning application for a house on this site. The previous three and an appeal to the Secretary of State have all been refused.

“The last application was refused by planning officers because ‘it is considered that the proposed subdivision is unacceptable in principle as both the proposed and retained plots would be uncharacteristically small for the surrounding area’.

“Similar wording has been used for each refusal and obviously nothing can be done to address this problem so there is no reason for the decision to be any different this time. There would not be sufficient outdoor amenity space.

Councillor Vanessa Brown

“The grounds for refusing the appeal to the Secretary of State further stated that the property would be in ‘stark contrast’ to the line of attractive well-spaced bungalows on the south side of Benett Avenue. A house here would impact badly on the street scene.

“These plans have rear upper storey windows and a door and balcony that would overlook and cause a loss of amenity to 5 Woodland Drive and to the adjacent bungalows in Benett Avenue.”

According to City Partnership Housing’s planning application, the new design would be similar to other in-fill plots in Woodland Drive and The Droveway.

It would have a pitched roof, like the surrounding houses, rather than the flat roof that was in one of the previous applications that was refused.

Planning agent Ian Coomber, from Absolute Town Planning, said: “In view of the need for additional housing and the findings of the previous inspector, the proposed development is, on balance, considered to be acceptable in principle.

“The proposed design is considered to have responded positively to the reasons for refusal of the previous applications and is considered acceptable.

Ian Coomber

“No significant concerns are held regarding the impact upon neighbouring amenity and standard of accommodation to be provided.

“Arboriculture, transport, sustainability and ecological matters can be satisfactorily addressed through suitably worded conditions.”

Although the council is struggling with a housing supply shortfall, planning inspector Louise Gibbons was not persuaded by a previous application for the site.

She said: “It would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area and would not provide satisfactory outdoor amenity space for future occupiers.

“These effects would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefit of adding a single dwelling to the housing land supply.”

The council’s Planning Committee meeting is due to start at 2pm tomorrow and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Bear Road resident Reply

    No doubt that if this was an inappropriate 65 room or more student block being built to the detriment of the local community in a poorer part of Brighton the council would accept no objections whatsoever.

  2. saveHOVE Reply

    “Sutably worded Conditions” – pity the planners when Regan chips away at them after planning consent & out of public view!!! A lot of extra work for planners & no public input usually for any of it.

    Regan is sharp! Thinking of Grade 2 Victoria Terrace property& stripping of internal features & external stairs to studio. An application that omitted mention of Grade 2 Listing….. eventually regularised too late after public fuss made, damage irreversible. Studio separated.

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