Gardens & wildlife

Crescent Road 2015 Application

Application BH2015/03013 was REFUSED on 30 November 2015.

The reasons for refusal are as follows:

  • Notwithstanding the lack of detail submitted the proposed development, by reason of its design, detailing, form and materials, would fail to provide a suitable standard of design and appearance, resulting in a development that would fail to reflect the character of historic backland sites within the Round Hill Conservation Area. As such the proposal would compromise the quality of the local environment. This identified harm would outweigh the benefit of additional housing and as such is contrary to policies QD1, QD2, QD3, QD4, QD14 and HE6 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.
  • The proposed development would lead to increased noise disturbance and significant levels of actual and perceived overlooking and loss of privacy to neighbouring properties located on Crescent Road and Belton Road. The proposal would therefore be contrary to policy QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.
  • The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed basement level accommodation would receive adequate levels of daylight / sunlight. Some of the habitable rooms would also suffer from a poor outlook as result of the proposed vertical fixed brise soleil, which would result in a sense of enclosure. As such it is considered that the units would provide a poor standard of accommodation harmful to the amenity of future occupiers. The proposed development is therefore contrary to policy QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

This is a case of overdevelopment which would affect many neighbours had it not been refused. Thank you to all local residents who submitted objections which were largely supported by the Case Officer's decision.

Background to refusal

28 and Land Rear of including 28B, 28C & 28D, Crescent Road Brighton - the site mainly consists of the narrow strip of land which separates most of the small rear gardens on the east side of Belton Road from most of the rear gardens on the west side of Crescent Road. There is already overlooking between these existing homes since the narrow strip, once the drying fields for three laundries, is no greater in width than the width of Crescent Road + its two pavements.

Overdevelopment affecting many neighbours

green open space

The felling of trees has not helped, but the developer now wants to overdevelop this valued open space with three houses and two flats (two new-builds and three conversions of buildings only previously used in daytime from Monday to Friday i.e.: not 24/7).

Although the proposal is for a car-free development, it is most unlikely that in a hilly area such as Round Hill disqualification of selective residents from holding parking permits could be sustained. The CPZ cuts out between 8pm and 9am and there is nothing to stop new residents from owning cars. Additional pressure could be a demand for 7 extra parking spaces in & around Crescent Road.

Several concerns remain. See our planning section for advice on how to participate in the planning process.

Brutal box-shaped structures would ruin this open space and make living in a conservation area meaningless for many RH residents.

Click here or on the picture below to review some of the drawings submitted with BH2015/03013 picturing

  • designs modelled on poorly conceived add-ons to commercial buildings, and
  • proposed materials which are totally out of keeping with the character & appearance of existing homes in Crescen Rd and Belton Rd.

green open space












How to protect open spaces - index

Residents in areas like Round Hill, which already have twice the average population density of an average UK city suburb while lacking in any public parks or recreation grounds, are clearly going to value the visual amenity of green space and wildlife habitat on private land and the feel-good factor in being able to see in & out of conservation areas appreciated too for their history and period architecture. Infill and overdevelopment of Round Hill's precious 'green ribbons' and former drying fields is unwanted by the large majority of our residents.

The overall factor which makes application BH2015/03013 overbearing is the amount of development proposed, shown clearly in

the proposed block plan.

The only greenspace remaining on the narrow central strip - which is no more in width (13 metres) than that of Crescent Road + its 2 footways - is on a raised part of the application site where even the use of the land for outdoor amenity space would totally undermine the privacy of half a dozen Belton Road households. 

The developer claims to have reduced the overall above ground mass on site by 5%, but this comparison relates to ill-conceived and cheaply constructed annexes to commercial buildings. Some of these have been disused for many years and were hidden by vegetation;  others were used for little more than storage and accessed only occasionally Mon-Fri during office hours.

This is a clear case of OVERDEVELOPMENT, justified in the view of the developer by existing footprints. Yet these are the footprints of ugly, cheaply put together add-ons unlikely to have been sanctioned by any planning department in the first place and which certainly would not find favour today.

Signs of overdevelopment in the drawings

Unit 28b Plans - the proposed conversion from a commercial building to a residential home, located near the access at 28 Crescent Road. Note that the part of that building which fronts Crescent Road (now 28a Crescent Road) was subdivided off circa 15 years ago. Note too that it was converted to residential far more sympathetically than the brutal design now proposed for the rest of the former laundry building.

Unit 28b Plans - the use of fixed brise soleil in the large windows to prevent new occupants looking straight into the windows of existing homes is a sure sign of window-to-window separations which fall far short of the 20 metre distance recommended by the Chartered Association of Building Engineers [CABE]. Although the occupants of 30 Crescent Road may not be spied on within a separation of circa 8 metres, they will have the fixed brise soleil (not very nice for the occupants) to characterise their neighbourhood when looking out of two of their windows.

Unit 28b Plans - in the ground floor drawing, occupants of the proposed 28b are offered a courtyard recessed into the building as private outdoor space. The need for a recessed courtyard to be part of the design is a telling sign of failure to leave a satisfactory amount of suitable private outdoor space on the application site. Such courtyards are often used for smoking. The location of this recessed space just a few metres from a neighbour's window may be construed by some as unfriendly development.

Flats 1 & 2 Plans - The design for Flat 2 (proposed for the first floor of a former annex to the laundry which would pose several problems of overlooking if used as residential accommodation) includes a canted window. This restriction, intended to prevent overlooking (at 13M and 15M distances) into two windows of the existing home at 38 Crescent Road to the east, leads to overlooking (17 M) to the west into the window of the existing home at 34 Belton Road to the west.

Flats 1 & 2 Plans - two windows at the north end of Flat 2 First Floor (west elevation) also incorporate fixed brise soleil in response to overlooking issues with existing homes at 40 Belton Road (13 M), 42 Belton Road (14 M) and 44 Belton Road (17 M). Although Round Hill is already very densely populated, fixed brise soleil is not an architectural feature which we see in our conservation area.

Flats 1 & 2 Plans - in the Ground Floor sketch (mainly for Flat 1), a secure drying area is proposed for Flat 2 (the First Floor flat). However, the proposed location is raised ground which looms over the rear garden of 34 Belton Road, copromising the privacy of existing residents.

Unit 28d Plans incorporate a sunken courtyard located very near to the garden of the existing home at 68 Crescent Road. This is reminiscent of the quality of the low quality outdoor amenity space often provided for smokers - not very nice for the occupants of homes and not always good news for those doing gardening in the neighbouring property.

Unsuitability of proposed materials

Unit 28b Plans - illustrate the use of

  • vertical timber cladding for walls,
  • 1.8m high timber close boarded fencing for boundary treatments, and
  • fixed brise soleil for proposed windows which are too close to the windows of existing residents' homes.

The proposed view from Crescent Road up the entrance drive to 28B is not in keeping with the character and appearance of the conservation area, known for brick, rendered brick, stone or bungaroush walls and bay windows ideally of sash construction.

Combination of materials alien to Round HIll CA

The unsuitability of the vertical timber cladding, fibre board and 1.8m high timber close boarded fencing are also illustrated in

Section Elevations E-04 View north towards 28B and E-07 View South towards flats.

Clutter which will spoil immediate residents' visual amenity

A mix of vertical and horizontal timber cladding, more familiar to captives on a ship than to Round Hill residents, is illustrated in

Section Elevations E-03 View south to 28D and E-11 View north towards flats

Review these materials in the Application Form

Go to section 9 of the above Application Form, where there is a comparison between the materials used in existing structures (some sub-standard in the first place and now derelict or removed) and the materials proposed for box-shaped, flat-roofed homes, which the developer is hoping to locate far to near to existing period-homes with pitched roofs and the character we associate with a neighbourhood for which many of us feel a measure of civic pride.


Existing: painted or rendered brick exterior walls with some glass blocks & upvc cladding

Proposed: buff brick, white render and vertical or horizontal timber cladding. Vertical timber cladding at ground level with horizontal textured cement fibreboard at first.



Existing: flat roofs

Proposed: single-ply membrane flat roofs



Existing: painted timber

Proposed: painted timber or powder coated aluminium



Existing: painted timber

Proposed: painted wood, composite or powder coated aluminium



Existing: N/A

proposed: 1.8m high timber close boarded fencing



Existing: N/A

Proposed: Permeable block paving, low maintenance planting, open area of wild grassland mix

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