Gardens & wildlife

Crescent Road 2016 Approval

green open space












Amount of accommodation reduced to 4no two bedroom houses.

BH2016/00862 has been approved

Part demolition and conversion of existing commercial buildings and erection of two new buildings to provide 4no two bedroom houses (C3) with associated landscaping. | 28A Crescent Road, Brighton, BN2 3RP (28 & Land Rear of including 28B, 28C & 28D Crescent Road Brighton)

Application BH2016/00862, registered on 29th March 2016 and amended several times (requiring two public consultations) was approved  Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee on 12th October 2016.

However, the site owner is now attempting to sell on the land / existing buildings + permission for four houses for £975,000 - over double the cost (£425,000) paid for this property in 2014.

Following the approval of BH2016/00862, a further planning application BH2017/03844 for Approval of Details Reserved by Conditions 7, 9, 13, 14, 15 and 16 (i) of BH2016/00862] was also approved on Tue 24 Apr 2018. These conditions relate to samples of hard surfacing materials, proposed windows and doors, materials to be used externally, details of all hard surfacing, boundary treatments and screening, proposed planting, submission of a scheme to provide that residents (apart from blue badge holders) have no entitlement to residents parking permits, details of timber access doors at Crescent Road frontage,  documentation on previous and existing uses of the site and adjacent land in accordance with Contaminated Land Research Report Nos. 2 and 3 and BS10175:2001. Click on BH2016/00862 and next to FILTER BY DOCUMENT TYPE, change "SHOW ALL" to "DECISION", then click the green button APPLY to view these conditions.

Was BH2016/00862 made as clear as this to the planning committee?

See http://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-property-for-sale/property-64385669.html

The Round Hill Society is grateful both to Chris Morley and Cllr Louisa Greenbaum for speaking against the application on behalf of the many residents affected by it.

Round Hill residents, especially those in Crescent Rd and Belton Rd whose homes and gardens surround this site, were very disappointed to see 4 houses approved, three occupying a narrow strip which has previously acted as a green lung with trees and vegetation (much has already been removed) helping to prevent overlooking between existing properties.

The elevated terrain on part of this strip, where a very small amount of green space will remain, compounds the problem of close overlooking since two of the new homes will have the use of this area as gardens.

The hope, now that such a high density has been permitted, is that neighbours will get on with one another, in spite of the tight space standards on this site. I felt that the individual instances of overlooking (relevant to savend local policy QD27) deserved more highlighting than they got at the planning meeting.

Members of the planning committee did question the developer's agent about the new front gate (claimed by the applicant as a reference to the site's history) and expressed concerns about access for disabled and emergency services, though this line of questioning is usually answered.

I noted that the question as to whether a car-free development is sustainable in this location, was not raised.

It was unfortunate that the application got pushed to the penultimate one on the agenda of a meeting lasting from 2pm to nearly 9pm. Clearly, people want to go home as the evening proceeds, though time was given when individual members of the planning committee supplied leads.

Absence of any debate on the application

The Chair's invitation to debate the application did not result in any such leads.

This was not entirely down to time. Even in the final hour of a seven hour meeting, most members (though a few had departed) showed considerable stamina and willingness to take time. I felt that the absence of debate was equally a consequence of

  • the complexity of the application (documents had been added months after the 3-week public consultation closed adding even more confusion to already untidy plans) and
  • the difficulty in getting to grips with the warren of structures proposed in the design.

 My own hope was that the very design concept, which resulted in such difficult drawings to read, would be recognised as flawed and that the architects would be told to go "back to the drawing-board", reduce the amount, and to refrain from using poorly sited sheds and add-on sprawl as the footprints for proposed new homes.

The key problem with BH2016/00862 is the applicant’s concept of the scheme as a “conversion of an urban infill site from a derelict commercial / light industrial use into residential” . This misleading description is offered as a justification for using the footprints of poorly sited add-ons (annex / garage / shed) as the templates for homes. See The Round Hill Society's letter of objection for more on this.

The majority of members took the view that "residential" would be better than "commercial" or "open space" on a site where structures had already been untidily erected. 7 FOR; 1 AGAINST; Others LEFT THE MEETING or ABSTAIN.

Sample objections to poorly sited development alien to the area in design & character, and damaging to the amenity of numerous existing homes and gardens

Read just a few of the several objections :-

Summary of recent amendments (Sep 2016)

taken from Sally Wright's email, but see them for yourself by selecting the documents tab on the Council's planning register entry for BH2016/00862 and opening recent documents (posted between July and Sep 2016)

  • getting rid of a terrace area at the south end of the site
  • the land in between the proposed 2 dwellings to be split into 2  gardens that would belong to the respective dwellings.
  • one of the 3 bedroom flats reduced to 2 bedrooms
  • a further (small reduction) to windows

The above amendments still leave the application wanting as they do not remove the main concerns voiced in the objections submitted to date:

  1. overdevelopment of very narrow strip of land. This small open space is needed due to high level of housing density around the application site. The proposal adversely affects circa 50 neighbouring properties. Some would be very closely overlooked.
  2. proposed buildings not in keeping with character of this historic part of the conservation area - laundry drying fields, windmill etc). The existing houses reflect the period history of the area.

BH2016/00862 before above changes

Instead of  3 houses + 2 flats (refused last year), the 2016 application is for 4 houses. There is some reduction in window area of the proposed houses, but canted windows and a sunken garden - common signs of overdevelopment - are still offered to address the problem of overlooking.

Read objection 1 and objection 2 from Belton Rd residents
objections from Crescent Rd and The Round Hill Society

The previous reasons for refusal bear reading again, since the new proposal fails to make more than a token response to them. This is disappointing and somewhat surprising in the absence of an appeal against refusal. 

The Round Hill Society is grateful to those residents who have already communicated their concerns. Feedback from immediate residents includes:

  • over development, loss of privacy, loss of security & not in keeping with area. Compare the amount now proposed (crammed within the long narrow site outlined in red) block plan BH2016/00862 with that proposed in block plan BH2015/03013. No significant reduction in site coverage in response to the Nov 2015 refusal on the ground of overdevelopment. 
  • Large chunks of the existing office building units retained in the proposal are so out of scale with the existing Victorian houses that it is impossible to make a development fit in. As evidenced in E-08 View East, large areas of buff brickwork and even larger areas of white render can never be in sympathy with the existing houses with their decorative detailing and relatively small widths. The proposed roofs are predominantly flat with no relieving features. Architecturally, existing roofs in this area of Round Hill are tiled and usually pitched at around 30 degrees. Most of the original chimney stacks are retained, adding interest to the roofscape.
  • lack of privacy, overlooking, overcrowding and out of character. In the developer's drawing E-11 View North 28E the existing boundary wall of 34 Belton Road to the west of proposed house 28E is made to look nearly three times higher than it actually is. The top two thirds of the structure is an open grid (i.e. a trellis which allows light into the existing property). Window to window overlooking would therefore be as close as 11 M from master bedroom window 1 and 12.5 M from master bedroom window 2.
  • for bins to be collected, occupants of 28D - the infill house proposed for the south of the site (to the west of 60 Crescent Road) - would have to move recycling and rubbish a distance of about '15 houses up' to the sole entrance beside 28 Crescent Road. See proposed block plan
  • Pressure on parking space which is already tight in Crescent Road and surrounding streets. 4 houses are likely to generate a demand for 6 extra spaces. A condition withdrawing eligibility of a select group of residents to hold parking permits might be tenable in the city centre, but it would prove discriminatory in our hilly neignbourhood and would be unsustainable in the long run. 

Previous grounds for refusal BH2015/03013

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