Gove rejects Brighton Marina’s ‘Poundshop Dubai’ plans

A visualisation of the flats along the proposed new boardwalk at Brighton Marina


A £350 million housing development dubbed “Poundland Dubai” has been refused by planning inspectors.

The Outer Harbour Development Company’s scheme for Brighton Marina included nine blocks containing a thousand flats in total. The tallest of the tower blocks would be 28 storeys high.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee refused the plans in September 2020, criticising the design, lack of balconies, limited public space, low-quality gardens, lack of play areas, limited “affordable” housing and insufficient parking.

Labour councillor Nick Childs coined the “Poundland Dubai” term when he said the plans could not be further away from what the city needed.

Following the public inquiry, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove backed planning inspector Paul Griffith’s report published on Thursday, 11 November, that said the scheme was a “homogenous mass” without “events or signposts”.

The Secretary of State’s decision said the design “lacks the exuberance and ambition that the best of Brighton’s seaside buildings exhibit”.

The views from the South Downs National Park closer to the development would show up the “design shortcomings” and have a “harmful impact”.

When it came to living conditions, the Secretary of State agreed with the inspector that some of the residential units would not receive sufficient daylight and/or sunlight.

The report said: “In my view, the negative aspects of the scheme in terms of its design, its impact on designated heritage assets, and the National Park, and its failure to provide acceptable living conditions for its residents outweigh the positive elements in terms of housing and affordable housing delivery, the pointers for adjacent sites, economic factors, and the facilitation of a connection with Madeira Terrace which would make Brighton Marina more of a destination. ”

The original Brighton Marina plans approved in 2006, including a 40-storey tower


During the public inquiry held in March, the developers’ QC Rupert Warren said the original plans were still an option if the appeal failed.

In 2006, a previous scheme for 853 flats in 11 buildings ranging from six to 40 storeys was approved, part of which has already been built.

  1. Robert Pattinson Reply

    Most of the flats at the Marina now are not lived in. Think its just a way to get money into the country. Same with many new builds in the area. So its not helping the housing shortage, just feeding greedy developers.

  2. James Reply

    Affordable housing makes the housing more expensive for everyone else who wants to buy a home on the development. They will be charged the subsidy within their purchase price.

  3. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I was talking about all this the other day with Derek Granger, who is now 100 and in good form. He was a key force in trying to prevent this monstering of the so-called Marina.

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      Sadly, Christopher, the meaning of the word ‘marina’ has long been lost down there, if it ever existed – as it has in Eastbourne, where many houses etc have been built beyond the marina/harbour on a windswept, cold and bleak stretch of coast.

      I came here about 20 years ago, went to the ‘Marina’ to have a look round and was not even aware for some time that there was a waterside bit beyond the nasty concrete. To be honest, the whole thing, as an entity, along with the other sites in area DA2 (I think it’s called), needs a coherent and radical re-think and a vision. The Marina has never been any sort of destination and never will be, if everything continues as in the past (the so-called shops down there change constantly, are mostly outlets and fast-food joints and the places that are actually shops are unattractive and often keep limited hours). Pedestrian access and routes around the place are almost non-existent.

      What developer-type people and fast-food chains have never learned is that, in general, Brighton Marina (especially on the water side) is very often cold, windy, bleak and wet. There are not that many days in the year when the food joints on the original boardwalk are heaving with customers, with the outside tables filled, and I expect the same goes for those beneath Sirius and Orion even more so. Last time I was down there for a very disappointing meal at yet another of the boardwalk joints, the starlings had taken up residence on the roofs of the newish flats, which speaks volumes. If the Marina is ever to be any sort of success as a venue, it needs things that attract people (local residents and visitors alike) all year round, which certainly isn’t the case now.

      I remember Derek Granger from television (I’m that old), although I’ve had to look him up to confirm it is the same person.

  4. Dave Reply

    The original plans that are still open are way better, I have no idea why the redesigned it to look like a prison.

    The marina needs the units to be built so that decent public transport can start running from the marina

  5. Kemptown Kid Reply

    yes most if not all of these new flats are empty, sold off to foreign tax dodgers. The marina is gray and ugly, like the concrete carpark. Asda does well selling its cheap quality food but mainly because it has a massive car park.

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