A plot of land next to a live music venue where permission is being sought for new shops and flats has now been put on the market for £2.25 million.
Hundreds of live music owners have objected to Patricia Camping’s planning application to build a four storey building on the site of the former Thrifty Car Rental business, which adjoins the the Prince Albert in Trafalgar Street.
They fear it could lead to noise complaints against the pub, which could close it down
Brighton and Hove City Council is yet to make a decision on the plans – but the site is already on the market, with the artist’s impressions and floorplans of the proposed mixed use development included.
The listing on Rightmove says: “The site is located adjacent to the Grade II listed Prince Albert Public House to the west and 45/46 Trafalgar Street to the east, a mixed-use building containing a shop, cafe and multiple dwellings above.
“A planning application has recently been submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council for the demolition of the existing building and erection of a four storey (plus basement) mixed commercial and residential building.
“A copy of the application is available upon request. The proposal is for 1357 sq.m. (GIA) of Class E commercial (office/retail) floor space set over nine units.
“The third floor would include two holiday let units, both two bedroom of 69 sq m and 90 sq m. The small unit has a roof terrace.”
After other Brighton music venues closed following noise complaints from new neighbours in the past, campaigners successfully fought for the council to introduce planning rules to prevent this happening again.
The newly-adopted rule, known as “agent of change” principle, says that any developments next to live music venues must include appropriate measures to prevent noise complaints being made.
But one campaigner, Mark Stack, says that as the proposed development is not for long-term residential use, it may not be required to have adequate sound-proofing.
And as other recent planning changes mean developers no longer need permission to convert similar commercial spaces into residential, the pub is still at risk.
He said: “By putting it up for sale is the owner clearly has no serious intention to develop the site. Why else would they put it up for sale? Yet because of doing that, it makes the position of the Prince Albert even more precarious.
“Fighting grassroot music venues closures is like playing chess, you always have to think at least three moves ahead and what possibilities may happen in between.
“We have to look at this planning request not only at face value but consider what twists and turns may happen if granted.
“We have to make sure any planning permission for this site is future-proof so that it cannot stop The Prince Albert running as it is in years to come, as it has done so for decades.”
The application itself says: “The applicant recognises that the Prince Albert Pub is an important cultural venue within the city and is along-established music venue.
“The potential implications of introducing a noise sensitive use within a new adjoined building have been carefully considered to ensure no new uses may prejudice this important existing use in accordance with ‘agent of change’ principle.
“The commercial units within the lower floors would not be noise sensitive and would not be impacted by noise and disturbance emitted from the public house.
“The holiday units would be let out on a short-term basis and the standard of amenity would not be expected to be at the same level as a residential flat.
“Furthermore, the units are located within a central location where an element of noise and disturbance is to be expected.
“The main noise generating element of the Prince Albert is the music venue which is located at first floor level and the upper level which is directly adjacent to the holiday let is in residential use.
“Nonetheless, as a belt and braces approach, the applicant has commissioned an acoustic survey/report to assess the noise impact and to recommend mitigation measures where required.”
It said the survey, carried out over a weekend when gigs were held at the pub, showed that the noise levels would be acceptable for holiday lets or commercial use.
It also recommended installing sound insulation to the party wall between th pub and the new building and soundproofing fixings.
It added: “The submission therefore demonstrates that that the continued operation of the live music venue would not be jeopardised by the proposed development.”