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annual report

BRIGHTON SOCIETY ANNUAL REPORT
JUNE 2012

Writers
Malcolm Dawes
Roger Hinton
Delia Ives
Selma Montford
Nina Willcock
Robert Edwards
Sandy Crowhurst
Jeremy Mustoe

REGENERATION OF THE LEVEL
THE i360 AND THE WEST PIER
SIMPSON PLAQUE
CONNAUGHT ANNEXE WEST HOVE INFANT SCHOOL
SOLAR PANELS
SALTDEAN LIDO
OPEN MARKET
QUEEN’S SQUARE
CO-OP DEPARTMENT STORE LONDON ROAD
BRIGHTON HISTORY CENTRE
CUTTINGS COLLECTION
PortZED
BOND STREET LAINE NAMEPLATE
STANMER EXHIBITION AND THE LONG BARN
SUSSEX COUNTY HOSPITAL
NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK
LOCAL PLAN
LOCAL LIST

REGENERATION OF THE LEVEL
In December, Brighton and Hove Council was finally awarded a £2.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the regeneration of The Level. The gardens will be restored to a style based on the original design by Captain MacClaren, the Superintendent of Parks in the 1920s.

The restoration will in addition include a café and children’s play areas. The skatepark will be relocated to the north of the Rose Walk, with most of the structures positioned below ground level. The design is being prepared by consultants who specialise in skateparks.

The Brighton Society has worked with the council officers preparing the scheme and fully supports the final proposals. Currently the gardens are in a poor condition. The area is in desperate need of regeneration to provide a more welcoming public space.

An improved Level would also bring positive benefits to the London Road Area. The detailed design of the skatepark has recently been available for consultation following a series of public exhibitions. The finalised design for the gardens is expected soon and construction will probably start later this year.

We have submitted our own ideas on the design of the gardens. Hopefully the proposed water features will result in the overall design using the reflective qualities of shallow water, which was such an important aspect of the original design.
Malcolm Dawes: Brighton Society Chair

THE i360 AND THE WEST PIER
The proposed i360 observation tower is back in the news following the Council’s announcement that it is considering lending £14 million to help finance the project. The justification for this use of public money is that it will attract extra visitors to the City and thus create new jobs. The final decision regarding the loan will be made by the Council in July.

We believe that there needs to be more clarity about the risks the Council will be taking if it makes this loan. We have asked for further information about the claim that the i360 will attract 800,000 visitors a year; this seems very optimistic when compared to visitor numbers recently observed on the Brighton Wheel.

Meanwhile, on the ground, work has just been completed in removing the former Rock Shop from the landward end of the West Pier. If the i360 does go ahead this listed building will be re-instated; we understand that those parts of the building which are in a good enough condition to be re-used have been put into secure storage.
Roger Hinton

SIMPSON PLAQUE
As mentioned in earlier reports this plaque was proposed by the Brighton Society and one which we are keen to see erected on an appropriate site. The Panel has agreed the wording to be used and a design has been produced and approved.

Unfortunately the owner of 16 Ship Street – where the Simpsons lived and worked – has so far not been willing to agree to having a plaque put on his house. A personal approach by a member of the Panel was unsuccessful. In an attempt to elicit a more favourable response a letter has now been sent by the Chair of the Brighton & Hove Commemorative Plaques Panel. At the time of writing a reply is still awaited.
Delia Ives

CONNAUGHT ANNEXE WEST HOVE INFANT SCHOOL
Recently I visited the Connaught annexe of West Hove Infant School with Malcolm Dawes.

Opening in 1884 as the Connaught Road Board School, the building was Grade II listed in 2010 following an application by the Brighton Society.

We arrived at the end of the school day, with only a few children and staff still around, involved in after-school clubs. Yet a calm, happy atmosphere was palpable. The building has been skillfully and tastefully altered to return it to its roots as a thriving school. It was a relief, indeed a pleasure, to note that most of the original features have remained intact.

Management of the Connaught Annexe by West Hove Infant School was initially a temporary arrangement but has now been made permanent. In this, its opening year, the Annexe has accommodated 90 Reception-aged children on the ground floor. In September 2012, the current Reception classes will move upstairs as Years 1 and 2 whilst 120 more Reception-aged children will be admitted.

But where will this first cohort go when they finish Year 2? To a Junior school created out of an existing building – perhaps Hove Police Station – or to a brand new building?

There is an acute shortage of school places in the city, particularly in Hove and, although several schools have been expanded to provide additional accommodation, this is insufficient to meet longer term needs. Firm plans for new schools are long overdue. Watch this space!
The Brighton Society’s preference is for upgrading of existing schools rather than demolition. Unfortunately though, in Hove particularly, several perfectly sound (but intentionally neglected) old schools were demolished, when pupil numbers declined, in the 1970s/80s.
Ninka Willcock

SOLAR PANELS
Over the last year solar panels have been installed on many houses as a result of the availability of government subsidies.
Green energy is an excellent idea but we are extremely concerned to see many fine houses in conservation areas now covered with solar panels and water heating grids.

Victorian houses often have delicate architectural details at roof level and these stark black shiny panels can radically alter the appearance of the house and change the appearance of the conservation area.

Until recently householders would have had to apply for planning permission but this has been changed. The installation of panels on the roof of a building in a conservation area does not now need planning permission – the result of the Parliamentary Bill which was one of the last items of legislation enacted by the Labour Government and finalised by the present government.

There is much confusion over the details of the Bill with some local authorities continuing to insist that the panels need planning permission.

However, Brighton and Hove Council do not insist on planning applications for solar panels and say that not even Article 4 Direction Controls cover solar panels.

They could however revise the Article 4 Directions but we have been told that the council have no such plans. Some local authorities have become concerned about the detrimental effects these panels can have on conservation areas and are including them in revised Article 4 Directions. We will continue with our efforts to persuade Brighton and Hove Council to do the same.
Malcolm Dawes

SALTDEAN LIDO
Late on 30 May Brighton & Hove City Council finalised an agreement with the leaseholder of the Lido to recover the lease. The Council hope to get back the keys to the site this week.

The Lido Campaign will now move into the next phase which is for the community to take ownership of the lease.

Next week every Saltdean household will be issued with a newsletter containing full details.

This will also be available on the Campaign’s website. There will be extensive local press coverage where we will be giving our reaction to the news and discussing our next move.

Here’s to the future of Saltdean Lido!

Rebecca Crook Saltdean Lido Campaign
www.saltdeanlidocampaign.org

The Brighton Society supports the Saltdean Lido Campaign.
Delia Ives

OPEN MARKET
Work has begun on The Open Market.

The Brighton Society welcomes the scheme for 44 permanent market stalls, workshops and 87 affordable flats, funded by Hyde Housing.
We hope that the designs of the entrances could be made more flamboyant. Ideally the market should spread out into London and Ditchling Roads to encourage passers-by to go into the market and to use it as a through route between the two roads.

A few changes to this application would make it a more exciting scheme. The Council hope that it will help to regenerate London Road.
Selma Montford

QUEEN’S SQUARE
The idea of replacement of the buildings along the north of the square is generally popular, as is the potentially improved appearance and amenity in the scheme to level the road there, lowering the base of the proposed modern hotel building.

A well designed building could provide an interesting focal point to the view up the square, but the proposed coloured panels seem ill-chosen.

However, the west elevation, modified in the current re-application, remains overwhelmingly close and dominant in its impact on listed Wykeham Terrace. The residents are right to be concerned about the large roof terraces overlooking the back of Wykeham Terrace, which could result in serious overlooking as well as unacceptable disturbance resulting from large gatherings of hotel guests.

Meanwhile the Brighton Society is interested in the proposal, currently omitted from the plan, of creating a pedestrian opening through this site into the magnificent view of St Nicholas Church (see above) from the south-east corner of the council-owned church grounds.

The planning application is likely to be heard in June, and is under consideration at the time of writing’.
Robert Edwards

CO-OP DEPARTMENT STORE LONDON ROAD
The Co-op department store was added to the Council’s Local List (buildings of special interest) at a Cabinet meeting for Planning, Employment, Economy & Regeneration on 29 March 2012.

A new design is expected from the developers, Watkins, who are liaising closely with the Co-op’s Estates department, the Council and Sussex University. What about liaising closely with local residents, or providing a mixed use development on this extensive site ?

Unfortunately Watkins only develop student flats. Is this a suitable location for such a large collection of 607 student flats? At the consultation stage it is hoped that all the reasons for refusal to an earlier application will be addressed.
Sandy Crowhurst

BRIGHTON HISTORY CENTRE
In late 2009, a vigorous, multi-pronged campaign was mounted – including an e-petition which attracted 1,259 signatures – to save the Brighton History Centre from almost instant closure. On that occasion, Brighton & Hove City Council somehow managed to find the cash and the glorious facility was granted a temporary reprieve.

But now its days are truly numbered. To no avail have the Friends of the Brighton History Centre repeatedly highlighted the numerous advantages of maintaining the current city centre facility – its location in the Museum building in Pavilion Gardens is ideal in so many ways and the staff could not be more knowledgeable or helpful.

The council’s recent decision to plough ahead, transferring the Centre’s substantial local collection to The Keep at Falmer, is depressing. Yes, local and family historians have been promised city-centre ‘hubs’ in local libraries, including the Jubilee, and the carrot of ongoing digitisation has been waived.

Yet what precisely is intended and how much funding will be allocated? Will the staff of the current Centre be redeployed appropriately or their expertise lost? Further questions need asking – as persistently as proves necessary.

Meanwhile, on the bright side, The Keep is predicted to open in late 2013. It will provide the very best conditions for preservation of the History Centre’s collection whilst the space released in Pavilion Gardens will ensure many more Museum artefacts see the light of day.
Ninka Willcock

CUTTINGS COLLECTION
I have donated several volumes of my cuttings collection, dating from the early 70s to the present day, telling the story of various developments in Brighton & Hove e.g. the Marina, the Jubilee Street site, Brighton station and the neighbouring site, the King Alfred, Black Rock etc. These were much used by school pupils and students when they were initially housed at the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre at the University of Brighton. Will they be re-housed at the Keep?
Selma Montford

PortZED
The Society looked very hard at this controversial design for 67 flats proposed on the northern side of Shoreham harbour between Kingsway and Basin Road North. It met with local residents and listened to their concerns, following which we sent our views to the City Council.

The design of six 5-storey high buildings with 55 wind turbines located between the blocks, would have resulted in an extremely energy efficient building which would set new standards for low carbon performance in a residential building.

However, the effect on the neighbouring houses overshadowed on the North side of Kingsway, including the West Hove Garden Estate ( was thought to be too great and the proposal was subsequently refused planning approval.

It was very much a case of the right building on the wrong site. It seems unlikely that further proposals will be made until the joint planning policy for the development of Shoreham Harbour which is currently being prepared, is completed.
Jeremy Mustoe

BOND STREET LAINE NAMEPLATE
Earlier this year the Society applied to the Council for the spelling of “Laine” in this nameplate to be corrected to “Lane” to be in accordance with definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary.

‘Laine’ is a “name given to certain tracts of agricultural land at the foot of the Sussex Downs”; whereas the nameplate in question is conspicuously displayed on a “a narrow road or street between walls or houses”, definition also from the Oxford English Dictionary.
The suggestion to use the spelling ‘laine’ came from the developer of the passageway in the 1980s and was approved by the Highways & Transport Committee in 1981.

However for many years the nameplate was situated high up on the walls and was inconspicuous. For a period, at the suggestion of a member of the Brighton Society, it was even corrected to “Lane”. The relocation of the nameplate last year prompted the Society to apply for a name change and in this they had the support of the North Laine Community Association.

The concern of Society in making this application was not only in the interests of correct English usage but also to preserve the historic integrity of the name “Laine” which, in 1976, was brought back into common usage by the naming of the North Laine Conservation Area.

At the time of writing our application is still going through the statutory consultation period. It is understood that some objections have been lodged, so determination by a magistrate seems inevitable.
Delia Ives

STANMER EXHIBITION AND THE LONG BARN
The City Council introduced a public consultation and accompanying exhibition on the future of the Stanmer Home farm in Stanmer village, including the Grade 2 Listed Long Barn. Various possible uses for the farm were suggested and comments sought from the public.

The Brighton Society visited the Long Barn in March to record the condition and state of the building. We found that the Long Barn is actually in quite reasonable condition having been re-roofed in the relatively recent past. In terms of size and scale it is impressive, and most of its original timber structure and flint walls are intact. It forms part of a complex of farm buildings a few of which are of little architectural value. But there is enormous potential there, and sufficient older outbuildings in Home Farm in addition to the Barn, to create an attractive grouping of converted and refurbished buildings, that could make a real contribution to Brighton.

What those future uses might be, whether the vision and will to create an imaginative and sympathetic proposal exists, and where the money is to come from are the difficult questions to be answered.
Jeremy Mustoe

SUSSEX COUNTY HOSPITAL
The agreement for funding the new hospital has been announced.

The Conservation Advisory Group (of which the Brighton Society is a member) especially its then chair, Philip Andrews – an architect, achieved several improvements to the design of the hospital particularly to the street frontage.
The Brighton Society requested that the colour of the wall panels should be a reserved matter so that they could be considered subsequent to planning permission having been granted. This was agreed, as Condition 37.

A letter from BMP to the Brighton Society states: “Our architect put a significant amount of thought into the selection of the colour palette and how it will be viewed from different parts of Brighton & Hove”. We would be interested to know what those thoughts were and how the architect arrived at this conclusion.

Duane Passman, Director of 3Ts, Estates & Facilities, agreed, at the Hospital Liaison meeting on 27.2.2012, that representatives of the Brighton Society may be present when the coloured panels are displayed on the hospital site. But will we be permitted to speak? We have asked the case officer whether we could see a range of colours, so that it is not just a yes/no situation.

Although The Brighton Society regrets the loss of the Barry building (which English Heritage turned down for listing in 2009) it accepts that it is not possible to retain it as part of the new scheme. http://www.bsuh.nhs.uk/about-us/hospital-redevelopment/

The Brighton Society has now been excluded from the bi-monthly liaison meetings with the hospital authorities as the representative of the Brighton Society does not live within a half-mile radius of the hospital, unless of course we can find a representative who does.
Selma Montford

NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY FRAMEWORK
The Brighton Society submitted its comments on the NPPF to the Dept of Communities and Local Government in mid-October .
Although the submissions made by major organisations such as the National Trust and CPRE no doubt carried more weight than ours, of the nineteen main suggestions for changes to the proposed legislation we made, seven were accepted, and five others resulted in partial amendments incorporated in the new legislation issued in March.

So it was a qualified success.
Jeremy Mustoe

LOCAL PLAN
In December the Brighton Society responded to the City Council’s consultation papers to revise and update the City Plan, which had been prepared in response to the Government’s introduction of the Draft National Planning Policy Framework.

The consultation papers covered four areas of planning policy. These were Housing Delivery, Student Housing, Park and Ride and Transport Options, and Employment. More revisions to the Local Plans are expected in the near future on which the Society will make further comment.

The Society also commented on the Council’s Draft Design guide for extensions and alterations.
Jeremy Mustoe

LOCAL LIST
We made some suggestions to the Council for additions to the Local List – i.e buildings which are not listed but are considered sufficiently valuable and which make a significant contribution to their surroundings to merit special consideration, should development or alterations be proposed – eg the Co-op department store in London Road.

Although it was not possible in the limited time available to make more detailed suggestions, it was felt that inclusion on the Local List of buildings built in the Art Deco style (of which there are many in Brighton), should be looked at in the near future.

SOME MORE GRADE III LIST SUGGESTIONS
Simpson schools:
Preston Road Board School (1880) by Thomas Simpson
Elm Grove (1893) T S Simpson collaborated with his eldest son J W Simpson
Varndean College (1929-31) by Gilbert Simpson
Preston village
7-11 South Road (1907) Preston village, by C. Stanley Peach, for the Stanford Estate Office
Lauriston Road (1894) north side, Stanford Estate houses by C. Stanley Peach
The Tower House, Preston Road
20, 22, 69, 71, 73, 75, 77 and 79 The Drive, Hove, the red brick and faience houses.
Public Houses
The Jolly Brewer, Ditchling Road
The Ladies Mile, Ladies Mile
The Dyke Tavern, Dyke Road
The Albion, Church Road
The Long Man 2-10 Wilmington Way Patcham 1930s interior and exterior