Gardens & wildlife

Crescent Road 2014 Objection

Dear Andrew Huntley,

Application No.  BH2014/03343
Address: 28B Crescent Road, Brighton BN2 3RP
Description: Prior Approval for Change of Use from Offices (B1) to Residential (C3) to form 5no Self contained flats.

We were in full agreement with the Council’s decisions to refuse the applicant’s last application (BH2014/00841 28 & 28B Crescent Road) for prior approval for change of use from offices (B1) to residential (C3) to form 5no self contained flats.

This was followed by a request for a Certificate of Lawfulness (BH2014/01815 28 A, B & C Crescent Road) which was withdrawn before the decision date.

The current application BH2014/03343 (28B Crescent Road) seeks the go-ahead for essentially the same scheme first submitted to The Council in a full planning application BH2014/00124. This earlier application (received 15/01/2014) cited the office buildings at both 28 & 28B Crescent Road as previously being in A2 class use. There was time for CAG to advise refusal of the scheme (overdevelopment & unsympathetic architecturally to surrounding properties in the Round Hill CA) before this earlier application was also withdrawn. Applications lodged earlier this year, make it clear that with 5no self contained flats as the applicant’s goal, as much as 313 sq metres of floorspace would need to qualify for conversion under the terms of the permitted development rule.

We urge you to refuse Application BH2014/03343, because:

  • 1. In the lead-up to 30th May 2013, as documented by the applicant in the Design and Access Statement for BH2014/00124, those buildings associated with leases documenting B1 class use, were only partially occupied. Note that DMH Stallard’s letter of 1 October 2014 takes the liberty of assuming that B1 automatically means B1(a) while the actual use by the last remaining tenant (Geo Environmental Services) on the partially used application site, was more akin to A2 Financial and Professional Services as described in the applicant’s earlier application BH2014/00124.
  • 2. Regardless of how the applicant chooses to label the buildings, annexes and sheds on the site, there is no evidence of B1 use extending to the amount of floorspace needed for the intended scheme. The covering letter received from DMH Stallard on 1st October 2014 in support of Application BH2014/03343, observes “the labelling of these units has varied throughout the history of the site”. We would consider variations in labelling on a site used for a number of purposes over several decades to be normal. However, it is no less than “contrived” to have so many variations in labelling within recent months in multiple applications for essentially the same scheme. The two sworn declarations evidence some office use (recorded in lease documents as B1), but this limited amount does not add up to the 313 sq metres of floorspace (needed to form 5no self contained flats) which needs to have been in B1(a) class use within a specific timeframe.
  • 3. Even if every shed and annex which the applicant hopes to convert could be proved to have been B1(a) office floorspace during the qualifying period, the new permitted development rule still does not cover the amount of physical external alteration needed to form decent residential accommodation. In the context of an unsuitable warren of worn out buildings, originally created cheaply as add-ons to an old laundry, we cannot see how demolition or semi-demolition can be avoided. Since the applicant is attempting to use the new permitted development rule to get permission for overdevelopment, it should be of even greater concern that they are using the clapped out shells of badly located annexes as the footprints for what would be refused as overdevelopment (were they to proceed using a full planning application). This cannot be what the government intended the new permitted development rule to sanction.

We are pleased that Brighton and Hove City Council has so far refused applications to progress a clearly unsuitable scheme by applying the grant of permitted development to circumstances where it just does not fit.

We urge you to refuse BH2014/03343. This would be consistent with your earlier decisions which indicate to a determined developer that a full planning application would be needed if his goal is to be considered. Only the latter would give immediate residents fair opportunity to have reasonable concerns counted as valid in The Council’s determination of future planning decisions.


This page was last updated by Ted on 27-Jan-2019
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