Gardens & wildlife

Hollingdean Road 2010 granted

Diamond Court residential development on former Esso site in Hollingdean Road
5-storey residential development on the former Esso Petrol Filling Station Hollingdean Road Brighton (Proposal BH2010/00498) has now been approved: 6 in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions.
The former Esso garage site
Photo taken from D'Aubigny Road in Round Hill

Redevelopment of the site providing for the erection of a part 2, 3, 4 and 5 storey building comprising 24no residential units and associated external amenity space.
Former Esso Garage Development
Photo also taken from D'Aubigny Road in Round Hill
See related comment
Large-scale residential development in Hollingdean Road granted
On Wednesday 19th May 2010, most of the members present on Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee followed the Council Officers' recommendation to grant planning permission for this large residential development. See The Plans List (PDF) - scroll to page 41.

Votes cast by members of the planning committee were 6 in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions.

The (Conservative) Councillors who voted against proposal BH2010/00498 cited the inadequacy of arrangements for parking. It seems likely that new residents' car use will put extra pressure on on-street parking over a significant area. The Council's 'Sustainable Transport' representative was somewhat vaguer than Councillor Cobb on the scale of the likely problem.

Councillor Cobb asked questions around traffic issues within the report.

Mr Reeves replied that a six minute walking distance would equate to around 468 metres in distance. He did not have data on how many people would own a car in a car-free development and noted that traffic surveys had been conducted on Saturday 11 August 2009, Wednesday 15 August 2009 and Thursday 16 August 2009.

Councillor Cobb commented that it was her understanding that it was normal in a car-free development of 25 units for 10-15 of those units to be car owning.

Councillor Mrs Theobald concurred in welcoming the housing provision but felt the scheme was overdeveloped and the design was poor. She also raised grave concerns over the provision of car-parking spaces.

Note that in relation to this 24 unit development no parking for able bodied residents was proposed. While this is consistent with SPG4, which sets maximum standards (36 in this case), it fails to comply with policy HO7 on car free housing.

Council Planners excused the abandonment of The Local Plan Policy HO7 (which addresses the conditions for genuine Car-Free Development), by setting a S106 planning condition that the applicant must INSTEAD pay a contribution of £18,000 (in this case) towards sustainable transport infrastructure within the vicinity of the site. See The Plans List (PDF) (pages 41 condition S106; pages 52 - 53).

The Plans List and Displaced Parking
A parking study arranged by the applicant in support of an appeal concerning a previous application for this site in 2007 is referred to on Page 53 of The Plans List (PDF). It is argued that the surveys in this study showed that there was an average of 46 on street
spaces available within 6 minutes walk of the site. Most of these spaces were in Upper Hollingdean Rd. and Southmount (off Davey Drive).

It is refreshing that at least two members of The Council's Planning Committee share local residents' scepticism in relation to parking studies commissioned by developers.

Although Council Planners are desperate to avoid losing Appeals Against Refusal (which is costly to the rate-payer), it should be noted that Government Planning Inspectors also doubt the objectivity and expertise which goes into these parking studies. See Roger Mather's comments on a similarly structured August study in No room to park: "it is stretching credibility to suggest that there is sufficient on-street space to provide for travel demand for eight family houses, estimated at seven cars, based on one beat survey undertaken during the early hours, on one weekday in August". Councillors who think they are voting for a Car Free Development should reflect on what cyclists, pedestrians and existing motorists actually get when the conditions for genuine car free development are ditched by Council Planners. It is also ironic that, through their recommendations, officials who claim to champion Sustainable Transport deliver a greater volume of motorised traffic in an existing Air Quality Management Area.

Affordable Housing no matter what
Other Councillors who supported proposal BH2010/00498 argued the need to meet the huge demand for affordable housing.

COMMENT: "Affordable" does not mean "Sustainable".

WHO SAID WHAT? - Minutes of the Planning Committee Meeting (Agenda 14C)

The background to the proposal which has now been granted was an unsuccessful application to build up to 7 storeys. The enormous development proposed, which would have dwarfed nearby residential properties, became the subject of a public inquiry.
Local inquiry into proposed 7-storey building on site which should take no more than 2 or 3 small dwellings, at the most

Please send us a report if you attended the Inquiry

Why the proposal is unsuitable
*limited in space and out of keeping with neighbouring properties,
*on a busy road (soon to carry Veolia's 44-tonne lorries)
*within an existing Air Quality Management Area.

The former Esso garage site
A local inquiry was held at Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove, BN3 3BQ starting at 10:00 on Tuesday 11 December 2007 into the Appeal by Southern Primary Housing against Brighton and Hove City Council's refusal (11 June 2007) of their proposal to build a 7 storey building (35 units of accommodation) on the Former Esso Garage Hollingdean Road Brighton.

The outcome of the proposal will be decided by a Government Planning Inspector, having heard the Inquiry. The Planning Inspectorate will send a copy of the Inspector's decision letter to those who ask for one in writing.

Unless the Inspector dismisses this appeal, we will lose this viewpoint out of Round Hill of Wild Park and Coldean Wood. The conservation area's connection with neighbouring more rural suburbs will be severed once again by yet another tall building.

View out of Round Hill towards Wild Park and Coldean Wood in the direction of Stanmer Park
Southern Primary Housing has appealed to the Secretary of State for Transport Local Government and the Regions against Council's decision on 11th June 2007 against refusal of their proposal to build a 7-storey block of 35 units on the former Esso Garage site in Hollingdean Road.

Their application was refused on 7 counts, the first of which relates to the adverse effects of overdevelopment on the surrounding area, including the Round Hill Conservation Area.

Comments which residents submitted to the Council during the consultation period of the original application, will have been passed on to the Department of Communities and Local Government. However, it is still worth speaking at the Public Inquiry to show that we have not lost interest and to support a correct decision by our Council, which would have to meet the costs of the Appeal if it is granted. This would be done with our money! Residents have no right of Appeal if the developer's Appeal against refusal is granted. The developer would be able to go ahead and add 7-storeys of building to our surroundings, as if the tall Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility were not already enough. Every additional tall building creates a precedent, which other developers can cite to further similar ambitions.

Within a short space of time, the character of Round Hill could change significantly if the attractive public viewpoints in and out of the conservation area blocked by tall buildings at the foot of our hillside.

Let's not sit back and let this happen to the area where we are fortunate enough to live.

Steeply sloping terrains are often used as a backdrop for tall buildings.

Adverse effects on Round Hill
The first reason for refusal identifies the proposal as an overdevelopment and includes mention of the effect on the Round Hill conservation area. Local residents, who took the trouble to send letters of comment, should note that they have not wasted their time. Imagine the public viewpoint (pictured at the top of the page) blocked out in the middle by a 7 storey building:

Blocked view out of Round Hill towards Wild Park and Coldean Wood in the direction of Stanmer Park
The glimpses of Wild Park and Coldean Wood, which we might get either side of the building, will not compensate for our loss. Our conservation area derives much of its special character from the public viewpoints, connecting Round Hill with neighbouring suburbs, between the ends of terraces.

The junction of Richmond Road and D'Aubigny Road is the historic site of an old railway station at the beginning of the Kemp Town Branch Line.

Do we want all the ends of terraces to be plugged by tall buildings which prohibit public viewpoints in and out of the Conservation Area?

The developer's precedents are buildings within the Centenary Industrial Estate, which are quite irrelevant to a proposal to build in Hollingdean Road and one which threatens our Conservation Area.

The proposal would be a disaster for immediate neighbours
Unless the appeal is dismissed, the existing residents of Hollingdean Road will suffer very badly. Our Council has been thorough in identifying the adverse effects of a proposal of this scale, especially the inadequate provision for social infrastructure in an area which is monitored for poor air quality, lacks green space, and is already badly affected by traffic volume. We can let the Planning Inspectorate know that we agree with these observations.

It is pleasing that the Council recognises (Reason 5) that the proposal is not an example of genuine car-free development i.e. a scheme which would remain genuinely car free in the long term. Residents who are concerned about the prospect of extra congestion in Hollingdean Road or the pressure on parking (more Centenary Industrial Estate staff will look for parking in Princes Road if access via Hollingdean Road becomes more difficult), should let the Planning Inspectorate know.

Brighton and Hove City Council´s 7 reasons for refusal

Reason 1

The proposed development, by reason of design and elevation treatment, excessive scale, bulk, height and site coverage, would be an overdevelopment of the site that would relate poorly to development in the surrounding area, including the Roundhill Conservation Area, would provide a bland ground level street frontage, and would appear as a prominent over-dominant and incongruent building within the area, contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policies QD1, QD2, QD3, QD5 and HO4, and SPGBH note 15 Tall Buildings.

Reason 2

The proposed development would result in overlooking of the rear garden area of the neighbouring property, compromising the existing living conditions of this property contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policy QD27.

Reason 3

The proposed development would result in overlooking of the private ground floor garden areas and habitable room windows to other units within the development, particularly from the terrace area at fourth floor level, and would therefore fail to provide adequate privacy for the affected units, contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policy QD27.

Reason 4

The proposed development would fail to provide adequate provision of on-site external amenity space, including play space for children, to meet the needs of future occupiers, and therefore would fail to provide adequate living conditions for future occupiers, contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policies HO5 and QD27.

Reason 5

The proposed low car housing development has failed to demonstrate measures to adequately address the travel demand arising from the development and the impact on sustainable transport services and infrastructure in the surrounding area, or measures to demonstrate that the 32 units not provided with a car parking space within the scheme would remain genuinely car free in the long term, contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policies TR1, TR19, QD27, HO7 and Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 4.

Reason 6

The proposed development would introduce additional residents to an identified area of poor air quality and the applicant has failed to demonstrate measures to ensure that this poor air quality will not be detrimental to future occupiers contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policy SU9.

Reason 7

The proposal fails to make adequate provision, through planning obligations, to address the impact of the development on social infrastructure including education facilities, sewerage infrastructure, open space, recreational facilities, public art and transport and to secure the provision of affordable housing, contrary to policies TR1, SU4, SU15 QD6, QD28, HO1, HO2, HO5, HO6, HO7 and HO21 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.

Background to this proposal and the issues raised by it

A planning application was made (by Southern Primary Housing, Hole Farmhouse, Woodmancote, Henfield BN5 9SU) to develop the site of the former Esso Garage Hollingdean Road Brighton.

The proposal is for 35 residential units arranged over 3-7 storeys, providing a mix of 1, 2 & 3 bed affordable units. Parking would be for 3 motor vehicles and 42 bicycles. The proposed roofing would be of single ply membrane, the external walls of brick / timber cladding / timber louvres and the doors & windows of metal.

The proposal was refused on the seven counts given above, but the developer has now appealed against refusal.

Urban cramming (building at any cost to the community) can only magnify the problem of inadequate housing. There are better solutions

External link to Think About Land an article written by the late Dr. E.F. Schumacher, the author of 'Small is Beautiful' in support of the homeless i.e. for a Housing Aid Society. He argues that a planning system which allows private speculators to 'corner the market for land' is at the root of the problem of homelessness. He also suggests a solution compatible with the mixed market economy.

Brighton and Hove City Council state, as their Spatial Vision for 2026 in their core strategy city planning document, that "by 2026 we will have addressed the issues of homelessness and overcrowded households and made substantial progress in meeting the demand for new households".

By cramming far too many new residents into far too little space on the edge of an industrial estate in an Air Quality Management Area traversed by 44-tonne trucks every 10 minutes, a Council would not be providing 'Homes for Life'. Instead, they would be 'piling up problems for the future'. E.F. Schumacher pointed to the solution in Think About Land 32 years ago. 2026 is just 19 years in the future. Schumacher had real vision and unless something similar to what he suggests is implemented, the problem of inadequate housing will be much more acute in 2026.

If we acquiesce while our local representatives give developers the nod to cram too many people into too little space, without providing any new infrastructure, then our Council tax bills in the future are likely to have to cover the cost of delinquency, crime, ill-health, mental break-downs and unemployability, which will (in Schumacher's prophetic words - we know because we have seen it elsewhere) immensely outweigh the real costs of adequate housing.

Sustainable development needs to take account of the health and well-being of whole communities. The Council encourages us through initiatives such as the Conservation Character Statements to take pride in our city.

"Will tall, cheaply built slabs replace everything you see in Brighton?" (John Betjeman)

The impact of the proposed 7 storeys on the setting of Round Hill
Click HERE for letter (3-page PDF) to the Council by Simon Bareham (on behalf of the developer) regarding the effects of the proposal on the setting of the Round Hill conservation area. The text of the letter refers to photographs taken from streets within the Round Hill area (D'Aubigny Road, Richmond Road and Princes Road) where the proposed development may be seen.

I am somewhat surprised at the use of "may be" and not "will be" in this context. Surely the elevations are known.

View out of Round Hill
Residents would be left with views either side of the proposed building

Simon Bareham (writing on the developer's behalf) also reminds the Council that the above public viewpoint out of Round Hill is NOT one which is identified in our Conservation Area Character Statement as being "an important viewpoint out of Round Hill across the City".

It doesn't seem to matter then that the proposed development will block the current public viewpoint across the city, comprising tiers of low density dwellings, allotments and trees on the horizon. The letter deems this viewpoint unimportant. It is further argued that since this viewpoint would be broadly in line with the fourth storey of the proposed building, then a person at the junction of D'Aubigny Road and Richmond Road would be viewing "the equivalent of a *two or three storey building at a distance of 40 to 50 metres, with views either side of the building. Such a relationship is acceptable in an urban area." (* 6 or 7 storeys? Surely, this is known!)

So much for the setting of the conservation area for residents and users of D'Aubigny Rd and Richmond Road.

Round Hill Conservation Area Character Statement

Note that although the Council does not consider loss of a private view a reason for refusing planning permission, public viewpoints are mentioned in our Round Hill Conservation Area Character Statement - a document which does not dictate outcomes, but one which is taken into consideration when deciding whether to grant or refuse planning permission. Specific mentions are given to several of Round Hill's conservation features: e.g. the stepped terrace to the NE of Princes Road, the back gardens adjacent to the surviving railway line which is Round Hill's 'green corridor', the spectacular view of Round Hill from the top of Bear Road, the steep escarpment between Richmond Road and Round Hill Crescent, the land either side of the stepped footway known as the Cats Creep, the vistas along Crescent Road and Wakefield Road. It is true that the "Spaces and Vistas" section of the Round Hill Conservation Area Character Statement emphasizes the distant views of the sea to the south and the downs to the east. The view to the east from Princes Road into Woodvale ought to get a specific mention in the next revision. The immediate need, however, is to convince the Council's Development Control department that the view to the north-east (towards Wild Park and Coldean Wood in the direction of Stanmer Park) from the junction of D'Aubigny Road and Richmond Road is definitely worth protecting.

View out of Round Hill towards Coldean woods
View out of Round Hill
This is a very densely populated part of Round Hill, and it is this one public view in Richmond Rd and D'Aubigny Rd, which provides the feeling of spaciousness by allowing residents to feel connected with neighbouring city suburbs and the countryside beyond. Putting a 7-storey building in the way, even if there are small gaps left either side of it, will affect large numbers of residents.

Simon Bareham's comment that viewing the 7-storey building from a point from Round Hill equivalent to 4-storeys up, is the equivalent to viewing a 2 or 3 storey building, needs further thought. Because we are viewing from a hillside (equivalent to 4-storeys up), the 5th 6th and 7th storeys will completely block out the allotments and the attractive tree-lines on the horizon. A LONG and interesting view would be rudely interrupted. It is admitted that we would only be left with views either side of the building, which would be rendered worthless.

The impact the proposal would have on existing residents in Hollingdean Road
Neighbouring properties would be 1 - 6 May Cottages (6 dwellings), the Terrace Block in Hollingdean Road opposite May Cottages and flats in Hollingdean Road.

Click HERE to read the Daylight and Overshadowing Report (12 pages PDF) completed on behalf of the developer.

The daylight assessment performed on behalf of the developer, focuses mainly on the cottages, only considering south-facing rooms to be relevant to the analysis and limiting itself to these.

However, the cottages are not the only nearby homes. Location in relation to the proposed development, means that neighbouring homes would be affected differently. But, whether residents lose part of the early morning sun FROM THE EAST or the late afternoon and evening sun FROM THE WEST, their loss of amenity should not be discounted. Reports on potential loss of daylight are little more than SMOKESCREENS if the parts of the day (WHEN PEOPLE ARE HOME FROM WORK!) are assumed not to exist.

LIMITING THE TERMS OF REFERENCE is used to give the APPEARANCE OF AN INQUIRY, while actually hiding information detrimental to your case.

Residents in the cottages are effectively being told that they have more daylight than they need!

The Report emphasizes individual rooms within May Cottages (6 separate dwellings) which have daylight levels well in excess of the minimum requirements e.g. for bedrooms.

With regard to most of the cottages, the Report concludes that loss of daylight would be negligible.

Perhaps residents who decided to buy one of these cottages because they liked the sunlight in the bedrooms would have a different approach to what is "negligible". Hollingdean Road is not the most attractive street frontage. It seems unfair to reduce these residents' remaining amenities even by "negligible" amounts. However, the full damage this proposal would inflict would not just be from new buildings. There would be new people in them too. Cramming large numbers of new residents into a small area (35 units in an area which shouldn't take more than 3 small terraced houses), giving them no recreational space and taking no realistic measures to cater for their transport needs, would put pressures on infrastructure which would be a recipe for community friction and social problems.

The former Esso garage site

How does this affect Round Hill residents?

The residents most affected in Round Hill will be those living at the east end of Richmond Road and the north end of D'Aubigny Road.

The two roads meet near Richmond House. Residents who know the car park by the side of this building, may also know that it used to be Lewes Road Station in the days of the Kemp Town Branch line.

View out of Round Hill

At the moment, the view from that corner takes in several tiers of low density dwellings and rises to pleasant landscape features comprising allotments and trees on the horizon.

If Application number: BH2007/00561 is granted, the view out of the Conservation Area currently enjoyed by Round Hill residents who use this part of Richmond Rd and D'Aubigny Road, will end where Southern Primary Housing's 7-storey building starts. Residents should realise that this is not far away. This view out of Round Hill will no longer define a Conservation Area when it is of a massive wall of brick and timber cladding.

To get an idea of the scale of the proposed building and its enormity in comparison to the dwellings either side of it, look closely at the white house on the right of the picture (below) which will be its immediate neighbour.

View out of Round Hill
Then draw back and look at the same white house (between the parked car and the tree in the centre of the picture) from the junction of Richmond Rd and D'Aubigny Road.

View out of Round Hill
This view, which connects urban dwellers with rural landscape features, is threatened with OBLITERATION

How does this affect residents in & around Hollingdean Road?

If I were living in one of those three storey houses which would be adjacent to a building of much bigger scale, allowing completely inadequate amenity-space for new residents and providing 3 parking spaces (when it is going to be very difficult to come up with a legal method of preventing new residents from competing for already scarce on-street parking) I would be very worried indeed.

Increased traffic congestion

The Transport Statement from Southern Primary Housing goes out of its way to emphasize the proximity of bus routes and even alludes to London Road railway station (as opposed to Moulsecoomb!). However, not all residents choose to use public transport. In spite of the usual references to Car Clubs etc in this document, it does not satisfactorily explain how new residents (and their visitors) could legally be prevented from competing with existing residents for on-street parking.

Transport Statement for Southern Primary Housing (PDF 33 Pages)

Parking on the Centenary Industrial Estate is limited to operational use for the units on the Estate ONLY

To appreciate the pressure on on-street parking in this area, it is worth noting that under the Council's Supplementary Planning Guidance on Parking Standards SPG BH note 4 (PDF 12 pages), parking on the adjoining Centenary Industrial Estate is limited to operational vehicles on the Industrial Estate ONLY.

The standards set out in SPG BH 4 aim to reduce excessive parking provision that encourages the non essential use of the car, especially for peak time travel. So employees working on the Centenary Industrial Estate (unless they are driving operational vehicles) are expected to use public transport to get to work.

Employees on the Centenary Industrial Estate, seeking loopholes to parking restrictions on that Estate, are already claiming on-street parking places in neighbouring streets

As a resident of Princes Road, I am puzzled by the use made of the flight of steps leading from The Centenary Industrial Estate to my residential street.
It would appear that it is mainly used by employees on the Centenary Industrial Estate seeking a loop-hole to the Council's Supplementary Planning Guidance on Parking Standards SPG BH note 4. Residents in Princes Road put up with this since the Centenary employees usually arrive after most have gone to work in their cars. However, on a few occasions, operational vehicles clearly belonging to units on the Centenary Industrial Estate have been parked in Princes Road, persumably because this gives easier access to destinations to the west. The instance of this could well increase if Traffic congestion in Hollingdean Road (the sole road access to the Centenary Industrial Estate) gets worse.

Further congestion in Hollingdean Road is already going to make road access to the Centenary Industrial Estate more difficult

Traffic congestion is about to be made worse by Veolia's 44-tonne lorries passing the site every 10 minutes. The proposed building, with over twice as many storeys as the existing dwellings, would not only dwarf them, but would add dramatically to population density in a street which needs to be made MORE attractive - NOT LESS.

New "homes for life" in an existing Air Quality Management Zone?

This area is already within an Air Quality Management Zone. Would any of the new residents regard their cramped quarters as 'Homes For Life'?

Of course not. This would be one more monstrosity, which would be referred to as a 'grotesque mistake'.

Regeneration and housing density

'Stacking them high and keeping them cheap' is not the way to regenerate the Lewes Road and Hollingdean Road area. In a recent study for the Council, Urban Initiatives identified Lewes Road Sainsburys as an ugly building which needed to come down and recommended reconstruction of the Vogue Gyratory to make it more user-friendly.

It is folly to believe that you can regenerate an area by increasing density without providing adequate amenity-space and any more infrastructure. Urban Initiatives also talked about doing away with the garage in the middle of the Vogue Gyratory and providing a square of green open space.

If the garage in the middle of the Vogue Gyratory DID disappear, it would be no surprise if another developer snapped up the site and proposed 7 storeys here as well. Of course, if approved the proposed development in Hollingdean Road would be used as a precedent in arguing the case for yet more density.

Although the proposed development site is outside Round Hill, the character of our Conservation Area is largely derived from views into and out of it. If we built a brick wall, 7 storeys high, around Round Hill, we could obliterate the views from every winding junction between the ends of the terraces, but this would considerably diminish our amenity and we would not feel connected with neighbouring suburbs.

We need to express our opposition to Southern Primary Housing's barricade, in terms which the Council accept as a "Valid Matter".

Protecting individual views does not tend to be regarded as "valid", but if the views define the character and appearance of a Conservation Area and it is clear that a massive over-development is not in keeping with its surroundings, then the Council will be able to find policies in the Local Plan and the Round Hill Conservation Area Character Definition Statement which match our objections. Some residents may wish to impress Council Officials by quoting the relevant policies and sections in their letters of comment or online submissions.

How is the developer justifying the obliteration of the view into and out of Round Hill with their tall "piggy in the middle" building?
Click HERE to see the developer's own Tall buildings statement and justification mentioning what we will see of the proposed 7-storey bulding from Richmond Road and D'Aubigny Road.

Click HERE to view the photo supplied by the developer of
what you would see from the south end of D'Aubigny Road

I would challenge the developer's statement that the tree in the background of the picture "ENDS THE VIEW" from the south end of D'Aubigny Road.

My point is even better made by taking the link to the developer's own picture - a larger one, taken when there was less vegetation on the tree.

In any case, this picture from the south end of D'Aubigny Road is NOT along a line which is relevant to the space which the main bulk of the proposed building will occupy.

It is a smokescreen, included to give misleading reassurance before admitting that you would see much more from the north end i.e. the intersection of D'Aubigny Road and Richmond Road much higher up Round Hill.

You can see in my own photo (below) that the south end of D'Aubigny Road is a lot lower than the critical vantage point at the north end.

Why doesn't the developer provide the Council with a photo from the critical vantage point (pictured below) with some modelling of how the proposed 7-storey building will obliterate the view?

Instead, the developer provides a photo (from the crucial junction) of an existing monstrosity in the Centenary Industrial Estate i.e. his precedent for a residential development outside of the industrial estate. It's the old game: go to the crucial vantage point, but point the camera in another direction entirely to show something in a non-residential area to justify something you dare not show.

With more vegetation now than in the developer's photo, Richmond Road is far better screened and I had to look for a very small gap in the hedge to get the above photo.

The developer seems to want to point the camera lens at anything other than the landscape we want to see instead of a brick and timber-cladded 7-storey building.

What should go here?
The former Esso garage site
I would not object to a terrace of 3 homes with small gardens and of the same height as the neighbouring (white) dwelling. 35 residential units would be absurd.

This area badly needs more amenity open space in spite of the proximity of Saunders Park, not safely accessible for young children or the elderly. The volume of traffic on Hollingdean Road makes it dangerous for any pedestrian to cross, unless they walk all the way to the panda crossing at the Vogue Gyratory, which Urban Initiatives agrees is pedestrian-unfriendly. I cannot see the Council's Traffic Department putting more crossings between the railway bridge and the Gyratory.

The concept of 'Homes for Life' needs to be given full weight. Too many proposals are based on the assumption that 'Anything is better than Nothing'. This builds problems and crises for the future and destroys 'Homes for Life' by undermining existing residents' amenities and sense of well-being.

Notes for residents commenting on the application
Application number: BH2007/00561

Former Esso Garage Hollingdean Road Brighton
Redevelopment of the site to provide a part single, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 storey building, comprised of 35 affordable residential units and three car parking spaces and 42 bicycles.

Issues that can be taken into account:
• The proposal complies with the Council’s planning policies
• A proposed use is suitable for the area
• The appearance and size of a new building is appropriate
• External alterations to an existing building are in character
• Adjoining residents will suffer overshadowing, overlooking or loss of
• There will be any increase in noise and disturbance, e.g. from the
comings and goings of extra traffic
• New buildings have satisfactory access for disabled people
• New roadways and accesses will be safe for pedestrians and other
road users
• A proposed sign is too large or unsightly
• The works are in keeping with a listed building

Issues that cannot be taken into account include:
• Loss of view
• Boundary and other disputes between neighbours
• Loss of trade from competing businesses
• Loss of property value
• Private legal covenants

Sample comments objecting to the proposal

Application number: BH2007/00561

Former Esso Garage Hollingdean Road Brighton
Redevelopment of the site to provide a part single, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 storey building, comprised of 35 affordable residential units and three car parking spaces and 42 bicycles.

• The proposal does not comply with the Council’s planning policies QD1, QD2, QD3, QD27, HO4 and HO5.
• New roadways and accesses will not be safe for pedestrians and other road users

Application number: BH2007/00561 is not a reasonable proposal. It is clearly an over-development of a site suited to 3 small terraced houses + small gardens at most.

Future occupiers would have cramped living conditions and no amenity-space i.e. just a back yard is so necessary in the context of the south side of the busy Hollingdean Road, very difficult to cross without using the panda crossing near Sainsburys.

• A proposed use is not suitable for the area.

This is quite the wrong area for increased density, especially involving new residential development. It is at the mouth of the Centenary Industrial Estate, on a route where Veolia’s 44 tonne lorries will soon pass every ten minutes. The Vogue Gyratory, almost on the doorstep of the proposed development site, is an existing Air Quality Management Area. It has been condemned by Urban Initiatives as having too much density already – the recommendation is to knock large buildings down here and to create more greenspace in place of Lewes Rd Sainsburys and the garage in the middle of the Gyratory. Hollingdean Road itself is an over-used access route for vehicles crossing Brighton. It is an existing bottleneck, which is set to become worse when Veolia’s Hollingdean Waste Transfer Station is completed.

• The appearance and size of a new building is inappropriate
• Adjoining residents will suffer overshadowing, overlooking or loss of privacy

3-7 storeys will involve the overshadowing of the small terraced houses directly adjoining the development site to the South East and the low-density buildings opposite. This scale of development would have very adverse effects on existing neighbours and would obliterate views into and out of the Round Hill Conservation area. Much of the amenity provided by Round Hill is derived from the gaps between the ends of terraces. The junction of Richmond Road and D’Aubigny Road marks the former site of Lewes Road Station at the side of Richmond House.

Round Hill residents feel connected with neighbouring suburbs looking out over low-density dwellings to allotments and tree-lines on the horizon. The developer has failed to supply a photograph modelling the impact of a 7-storey building from the junction of Richmond Road and D’Aubigny Road. Instead, two less relevant photos are offered as smokescreens.

Smokescreen 1: a photo of the large warehouse WITHIN THE CENTENARY INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, as if this were a precedent for building something taller OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE.

Smokescreen 2: a photograph taken from the junction of Round Hill Crescent and D’Aubigny Road to support the inaccurate claim that a tree in the background would end the view before the proposed 7-storey building is seen.

The absence of a photo modelling what would be seen OF THE DEVELOPMENT SITE from the relevant vantage point of D’Aubigny Road and Richmond Road is of great concern to Round Hill residents. This important part of the Round Hill Conservation Area would undergo a very unwelcome change of character, though the adverse effects of this proposal would be even worse for residents of Hollingdean Road itself. High density cannot but damage an area already under so many pressures related to density itself.

• There will be an increase in noise and disturbance, e.g. from the comings and goings of extra traffic

The proposed car free development fails to provide for the resulting travel demand and would be likely to exacerbate the existing on-street parking stress and result in the displacement of existing resident parking, contrary to Brighton and Hove Local Plan policies TR1, TR19, QD27 and HO7.

• New buildings have satisfactory access for disabled people

Many disabled people depend on vehicular access (i.e. either for themselves or for visitors and essential services). They are not likely to cycle or to want to take buses into Brighton from the far side of Lewes Road Gyratory. Neither are families with small children or elderly residents in spite of this inhospitable location being on several bus-routes. The Traffic Report submitted on the developer’s behalf exaggerates the accessibility of London Road Station (from the lower end of Hollingdean Road!).

The proposed units, which the developer is probably attempting to characterize as “Home for Students living near the Academic Corridor” cannot be envisaged as “Homes for Life”.

Hollingdean Road is not within a Controlled Parking Zone, nor would the restrictions of a CPZ help with a proposal which fails to provide for new residents’ transport needs. There has been so much pressure on on-street parking in this area that Lewes Rd Sainsburys has had to take measures to prevent local residents who cannot find a place to park from resorting to the use of their supermarket car park solely for that purpose.

The reality is that residents in this unattractive area have and use cars. There is no room for the developer to satisfy the travel demand generated by a proposal involving 35 units. Parking on the Centenary Industrial Estate is limited to operational vehicles on that estate under an SPG. Urban Initiatives has concluded after consultation with local residents that Lewes Road Gyratory is not friendly to cyclists.

Regardless of the age group, those new residents who do use bicycles are unlikely to want to mingle with 44-tonne trucks. This is not the context in which we should be promoting cycling for those currently doing the school-run. In terms of the developer’s scenario, I doubt that the prospect would actually appeal in practice to more than one or two students and there is a very thin prospect that many new residents would want to participate in a Car Club. The 42 bicycles is therefore another smokescreen, and the Car Club is a similar attempt to get an unsuitable proposal accepted.

It stretches the imagination to argue that the proposed development would be workable in the way that the developer attempts to depict. The proposal involves gross over-development and I urge that this is made clear in formulating the reasons for refusing this opening salvo. I cannot see more than 3 small dwellings working on this site.

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This page was last updated by Ted on 01-Dec-2013
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