Neighbours unconvinced by huge ‘co-living’ village plans

Posted On 23 May 2022 at 3:54 pm

Two of the four blocks planned for the Enterprise Point site

A developer is hoping to build a village of 424 “co-living” flats in blocks of up to eight storeys off Lewes Road – but neighbours aren’t keen on the plans.

Paul Brundell already has permission to build 83 co-living flats in place of garages behind Machine Mart in Melbourne Street.

He’s now made two fresh applications for what is described as phase two and three of a “Kosy Village”, on the site of Machine Mart and Enterprise Point.

The six story block planned for the Machine Mart site

The proposed six-storey block on what is now Machine Mart would house 63 studio flats, five of which would be fully wheelchair accessible, communal areas and a cafe on the ground floor.

The four blocks between six storeys and eight storeys on the Enterprise Point site would house 278 studios, 27 of which would be accessible, and 410 co-working desks.

The application includes the results of a public consultation, which 55 households nearby responded to.

They were asked to rate the scheme from 0 (negative) to 100 (positive), and it scored an average of 34.

An officer from Woodvale Crematorium raised concerns about the possible noise impact on the bereavement office and coroners court.

And they said they were concerns that residents of the scheme would use the crematorium grounds as a free car park and as a cut through to Lewes Road.

An artist’s impresison of the whole village

One resident, Graham Pratt, said: “Communal living’ seems to me like a way to cram more people into as little space as possible. A cupboard with a window, plus a prison style canteen.

“Enterprise Point is already providing an excellent community space with free and low-cost programs that benefit the neighbourhood, such as Audioactive.

“Kosy Co Living don’t say what ‘affordable’ is, I suspect more expensive than now. Please stop profiteering and cramming us in like cattle.”

Another, Jon Baldwin, said: “The proposed use as ‘communal living’ is clearly a rebrand of student accommodation. An application for approx. 300 no. student flats was refused in 2019 due to this site being earmarked for affordable housing. Looking at the plans this looks very similar in terms of amenities and individual unit floor areas.

However, a third anonymous resident was more positive. They said: “Thank you for sending an update on the progress of the redevelopment of Melbourne Street.

“As far as I’m concerned, this can’t happen soon enough. Also, the sooner the better in terms of the Enterprise Point redevelopment, the place is an eyesore.”

How the village will look from Lewes Road travelling north

The application says the site requires a “strong building” because of the height of other nearby buildings.

It says: “This location on the corner and presenting itself to the city-wide important route pathway avenue of Lewes Road, has to signify and state its presence and stand up to Viaduct Lofts, as well as mark the existence of the new important Co-Living Co-Working Village.

“Also notable is the considerably bulky mass and height of the Sainsbury’s Superstore at the corner of Upper Lewes and Lewes Road, directly facing the site, again calling for a proud prominent building opposite at Machine Mart.

“Whilst the historic fabric has been characterised by low rise terraced housing, it is clear that the surrounding context is evolving, in line with all city skylines as we strive for greater urban density, as higher developments are consented, notably Viaduct Lofts, 19 – 24 Melbourne Street and the landmark Student Apartment blocks along Lewes Road of Vogue Studios, IQ and Stonework’s.”

It says all residents will have access to communal cooking and lounge facilities, a gym, games, laundry and outdoor space, as well as the co-working areas.

It says: “This is an all-inclusive concept, with a significant contribution made by the applicant to the city’s supply of affordable housing to rent to meet the identified need for an affordable high quality living solution close to the city centre in a safe, inclusive, and closely knit community/neighbourhood.”

None of the phases include any officially designated affordable housing. The city’s planning policy usually requires 40% of housing in large new developments to be affordable.

With the phase one application, councillors instead agreed the developer should make a contribution to providing this elsewhere in the city.

  1. Maureen Winder Reply

    The Council must be very cautious about supporting these additional planning applications. The size of these co-living blocks is going to completely overshadow existing houses, taking light from people’s windows and gardens, and overwhelming the area, which still remains a nice residential part of the City with a special history. Please let’s put an end to profiteering by these developers who have no interest in the needs of people in our City, nor any architectural value for our living spaces.

  2. Valerie Reply

    This scheme is inhumanely monstrous. It is human warehousing & cynical profiteerung.

  3. Thirds Reply

    Fast track gentrification assisted by the council.. shameful.

    • Jen Murray Reply

      It’s the opposite of gentrification. It’s ugly, crammed and totally non-inclusive.

  4. Bear Road resident Reply

    Blimey – A 424 room H.M.O. which is what this effectively is – a record even for Brighton which frequently sees three bedroom house described as having seven bed rooms.
    Architecturally yet more of the Lego brick school that is all too often inflicted on the inhabitants of the Lewes Road and a cafe on the ground floor is just what we need as there are so few cafes along that stretch of the Lewes Road.
    As for the paragraph “Also notable is the considerably bulky mass and height of the Sainsbury’s Superstore at the corner of Upper Lewes and Lewes Road, directly facing the site, again calling for a proud prominent building opposite at Machine Mart.” The Sainsbury’s store could not be considered as bulky or particularly high in comparison to the out of scale student housing blocks around it and was designed to reflect the look of the Cox’s pharmaceutical factory that it replaced.
    Compared to what could be done and is dfone in other places all Brighton ever seems to get offered in the way of new buildings are dull, ugly , “cram them in” ticky-tacky boxes.

    • Jen Murray Reply

      Hear hear!

  5. Jen Murray Reply

    This building is hideous, too bulky and too high for the other buildings south of it on Lewes Road. My neighbourhood is being slowly but surely eaten up by these monstrous yellow brick monuments to greed and ugliness.

  6. Hove Guy Reply

    The name “Kosy Village” says it all. It would be anything but cosy to other residents of the neighbourhood. “Kosy Prison” would seem more appropriate.

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