The owner of a block of flats who paved over its garden to create a bigger driveway has been ordered to put the grass back.
WP Properties, owned by builder William Packham, knocked down part of the front wall of the block at 5-7 Stanford Avenue in 2019 or 2020 without planning permission.
It also put up a bin store and paved over a grassed area to create more parking spaces.
Planning officers wrote to Mr Packham in December 2020 to tell him he needed permission to keep these changes.
He applied in 2021 for permission for the changes he had made, but was refused – and then in 2022 for a slightly different scheme which would put back the wall and some grass, but keep most of the parking and the bin store.
This was also refused, and Brighton and Hove City Council has now issued an enforcement notice requiring him to put everything back as it was.
In the 2022 planning application, planning agent Julia Mitchell from Lewis and Co, wrote: “Planning permission was granted in 1998 for the conversion of 5 and 7 Stanford Avenue into flats.
“Since this time the applicant has made various changes to the hardcourt to the front of the property to facilitate parking for residents.
“The revised parking arrangement will allow for the reinstatement of the boundary walls and railings, which the council consider to be important features in this part of the conservation area.
“Therefore the revised parking arrangement facilitates this visual improvement which will enhance the Preston Park Conservation Area.
“The amenity of residents will be protected by the development. There will continue to be some parking provision as well as grassed areas to the front of the buildings.”
The scheme drew two objections, one from a member of the public who said that the layout meant cars had to reverse out on to the busy road which was dangerous.
The other was from a resident of the flats who, at that time, was using one of the parking spaces which would have been removed under the revised scheme and who wanted it to remain as it now is.
He said: “This will have a significant impact on my daily routine/work schedule. In all facets of my work the use/accessibility of my car is crucial.
“On a daily basis I am required to transport large amounts of heavy equipment and materials. I often leave in the early hours/return in the middle of the night.”
However, in his report, planning officer Jack Summers wrote: “The concerns over the loss of the existing parking are noted. However, the current layout is unauthorised and the parking space referenced cannot be given any significant weight in the planning balance.
“The existing layout has been refused planning permission under application BH2021/01375 and the private benefit to residents is noted but was not considered significant enough to warrant permission being granted for the scheme
“The proposed replacement of lawned areas with hardstanding for parking vehicles, and erection of an overlarge bin store in front of no 5, is considered to have a detrimental impact on the visual amenities of the area.
“The hardstanding appears as a hard, sterile expanse, reducing the biodiversity value of the site and the green character of Stanford Avenue, while the bin store is an incongruous addition in terms of scale, siting and materiality.
“The proposed layout also fails to provide car parking spaces that can be demonstrably usable. No swept path analysis has been submitted to show whether a car could comfortably manoeuvre in and out of the site.
“It is considered very likely that cars would be unable to enter and exit the site in a forward gear. This, coupled with inadequate visibility splays (due to the boundary wall) would lead to what is considered to be unacceptably hazardous highway conditions for motorists and pedestrians on the footway.”