Music school to take over old Argus offices in Brighton

A music school plans to take over the old Argus newspaper offices and EC Language School premises in Manchester Street, Brighton.

If the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) is granted planning permission for a change of use, the building could be used to teach up to 1,000 students a week.

But with staggered start and finish times and other constraints, BIMM said that the maximum number of students in the building over the course of a day would be up to 200.

BIMM’s plans for the building, Dolphin House, opposite the Latest Music Bar, will go before Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee tomorrow (Wednesday 1 September).

Officials have recommended granting permission, subject to conditions such as using sound limiters with all audio equipment.

BIMM commissioned a noise impact assessment by experts Clarke Saunders who said that all noise-generating spaces, apart from the guitar room, would be on the Manchester Street side of the building.

Clarke Saunders said: “A significant majority of more noise intensive areas are proposed in the central portion of the building, thereby forming acoustic ‘buffer zones’, reducing the level of noise exposed to the party walls.

“Noise within Dolphin House will need to be controlled, such that the more traditional academic teaching spaces will have appropriate internal ambient noise conditions, allowing the students to clearly hear their teachers.”

The plans propose internal walls, built by specialist firm Studio People, to limit the effects of noise.

Five objectors wrote to the council, citing concerns about noise, traffic, loss of privacy and the operating hours of 8am to 8pm.

Most concerns came from people living in neighbouring Dolphin Mews.

A proposed planning condition would restrict access to the courtyard adjoining Dolphin Mews, keeping it as an emergency exit only.

Two people wrote to support the plans, saying that they encouraged music and the arts.

Dolphin House in Brighton

One objector, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “Residents have many times had to rely on the operating plan put in as a condition when the building was changed from offices to a language school when remonstrating with the operator about breaches by students such as blocking the residents’ entrance and allowing noise to escape from the windows.

“It should be a condition that the new operator engage with planners and residents to agree a mutually acceptable operating plan.”

A supporter, whose details were also redacted, said: “I support this development because it is a useful and positive idea for young people wishing to pursue a career in music and the arts.

“I expect it will be in keeping with the building use in the Latest music venue across the road.”

The Planning Committee is due to start at 2pm tomorrow at Hove Town Hall. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council website.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Could this mean that the college no longer occupies the lovely room at Hove Library and that it can be used again by the public?

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