Hove hospital awaits planners’ verdict on proposed four-storey extension

Plans for a four-storey extension to a private hospital are going before councillors, five years after they were first submitted.

The plans for the Montefiore Hospital, in Montefiore Road, Hove, have been revised twice since September 2016.

The hospital’s owner Spire Healthcare said that the changes were initially in response to feedback from Brighton and Hove City Council planning officials.

The most recent design was intended to take on board heritage concerns because the hospital is a locally listed building.

It was built in 1904 as a furniture store for Hanningtons, the department store, and in the 1970s it was turned into offices for the insurance and pensions business Legal and General.

Spire Healthcare opened the hospital towards the end of 2012 after buying the site in 2009.

The proposed extension would add 11 inpatient bedrooms and 11 day care bedrooms as well as support areas and roof-mounted plant.

Spire wants to build over the existing car park while keeping as many parking spaces as possible.

Each floor has been designed to match the height of the current building to avoid ramps and steps.

The multimillion-pound extension is expected to mean 19 more jobs at the private hospital.

Seven neighbours have objected to the current application, which the council’s Planning Committee is due to decide next week.

Their letters raised concerns about noise from the roof plant, the height of the extension, added parking pressure in neighbouring streets and the proposed loss of trees.

One objector, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “The parking available for the enlarged hospital building is proposed to be reduced from 26 to 16 spaces.

“The parking in this area is already extremely difficult due to the current increase in patients and staff at the hospital.”

A visualisation of the proposed extension to the Spire Montefiore Hospital in Hove

Another neighbour, whose details were also redacted, said: “The new wing of the hospital is badly designed and looks out of place with the rest of the original building.

“The new design of the hospital looks extremely cramped and traps out a lot of natural light coming from the east. Not so much direct sunlight but natural light as a whole.”

A plane tree would be cut down if the planning application is approved and this prompted an objection from the council’s arboricultural officer. Six new trees are proposed for the street to make up for the loss.

The Brighton and Hove Conservation Advisory Group also objected to the scheme, saying that it “bears no reflection” on the main locally listed building, and the windows are “unsympathetic”.

If councillors grant planning permission, in line with officials’ advice, the hospital would be expected to keep running during construction.

The Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 2pm next Wednesday (4 August). The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

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