Feedback from Round Hill residents on Open Spaces
Valuing the open-feel of Round Hill
See Conservation Area Protection for update on how we can attempt to conserve Round Hill's "green ribbons".
Looking from the summit of Princes Road across Saunders Park into the Lewes Road valley before Hughes Road and the warehouses of The Centenary Industrial Estate were planted in the foreground.
Below are the responses given by local residents when The Round Hill Society last consulted them on their open space needs in 2006. We were concerned then that The Council's Open Spaces Questionnaire failed to comply with The Government's PPG17 Guidance on Open Spaces. Section 5.1, Assessing Needs and Opportunities, states that "Audits of provision should encompass: all existing open spaces within the local authority's area, irrespective of ownership and the extent of public access."
Although The Council's 2007/8 Open Spaces Study, undertaken together with the private consultant PMP, is more complete in its typology, the Household Survey used for data collection, was similarly limited. The design of the questions, based on how frequently residents accessed and used open spaces, again acted to marginalize hillside (relatively inaccessible) open space on private land. Thus the data collection phase (on which PMP's forthcoming 2008 report will be based) failed to register the visual amenity of Round Hill's 'green ribbons' and the value & potential value of existing greenfield sites such as Carelet's main freehold for screening our Conservation Area from two industrial zones, one of which now accommodates a MRF and WTS for the whole of Brighton and Hove.
The responses below have been reproduced to draw the Council's attention to important data on Round Hill's Open Space Needs, which both the 2006 Questionnaire and PMP's Household Survey failed to collect. Question 1 Do you think the remaining green spaces in Round Hill should remain undeveloped? Or do you think it is reasonable for landowners to develop land for occupation by new residents? If so, would some types of building be more acceptable than others?
The overwhelming response from respondents was against further development in Round Hill (54 responses out of 56). Many think that the area is already too densely populated (15 responses) and others highlighted the parking and infrastructure problems that would be exacerbated by further development (12 responses). There was a feeling that green spaces should be conserved particularly because of Round Hill's status as a conservation area (8 responses) and the replies showed widespread concern at the general lack of green spaces or community amenities in Round Hill (23 responses).
Some respondents felt that a level of development was acceptable if it was sympathetic and balanced with conservation concerns (2 responses). Some of the comments on question 1
1. I think the remaining green spaces in Round Hill should be left undeveloped. The area is already over populated, parking a great issue (we moved here a year and a half ago and have noticed a huge difference in our ability to park our car in that short space of time) Also, how would builders etc access these areas to build these houses suggested behind the Round Hill crescent without a great deal of aggravation to the local residents?
2. They should remain undeveloped, there are little enough green spaces as it is and further
development means an addition to the already critical parking problems in the area.
3. I am totally against these proposals. I think that these spaces should remain undeveloped. The area has such a high concentration of buildings already with the attendant problem of parking that any more would add to it. Also I greatly fear for the wildlife in area. I live on the Upper Lewes Rd and have no garden to speak of, but still see foxes, squirrels and various birds passing through it. It would be a disaster if the green area was taken away and all these disappeared and all we have is houses, houses, houses.
4. With so many empty houses + industrial premises, build there if they must. The water table is disturbingly low, and wild life and trees threatened. Leave our green spaces alone.
5. Yes, they should remain undeveloped. There seems to be little point in calling Round Hill a Conservation Area if people are allowed to build more houses on our precious 'green ribbons', which are part of the area's unique character. We have to avoid town cramming. The Council's own character statement mentions our green ribbons. If another Council department were to give the go-ahead for building on those same spaces, it would make a mockery of all the work that went into the preparation of the character statement.
6. I believe that we should endeavour to preserve the green spaces that exist in Round Hill wherever possible. The issues of provision of adequate parking and access in an area that is already densely populated remain unresolved. Round Hill is a conservation area and it will not be possible to preserve and retain the character of Round Hill if we develop the few remaining green areas in this already congested part of Brighton. Developers always make assurances that any new buildings will have parking provided and they will not impact on existing residents, but the reality is often different. I cannot see any new developments that will not adversely affect the area. I hope planners will refuse the latest planning application as they have refused others previously.
7. They should remain undeveloped. The area is crowded with insufficient green areas.
8. The green spaces should remain untouched by the developers. There are many empty, unused existing buildings across the city that could be developed into affordable housing, rather than expensive loft style apartments for Londoners.
9. This is already a crowded hill. What green we do have, much of it enclosed and safe for wildlife, must be preserved as our city's lungs. What is neither green nor yet built on should be helped to become more green open space.
10. I would very much like to see green spaces remain, although the principle of redeveloping inner city for higher density 'dwelling' (rather than having sprawling suburbs or 'green-field' development) is also important because of implications for transport etc.
11. In my opinion Round Hill area should not be developed anymore. Too many people live here already with too few community facilities.
12. YES - Green spaces should remain undeveloped. Building on green spaces reduces levels of vegetation and wildlife, which directly affects residents' quality of life. It also encroaches on the unique skyline and vistas (not to mention privacy) of the area. With more houses accommodating more people via flat conversions and student accommodation (particularly prevalent in Round Hill) the introduction of more residents into the area compounds existing issues relating to car parking, traffic 'rat-runs' and pollution levels. The effects of continued 'urbanisation' of the area, with its strong sense of community, is an irreversible and derogatory option.
13. What little is left of ‘green space' should remain green to preserve the human and wildlife well being. It is an area of conservation, where owners cannot alter features but new build is permissible?
14. I would prefer the remaining green spaces to remain undeveloped - absolutely. Though I understand that landowners may want to develop land - greed is a powerful driver. Single/two storey dwellings are more acceptable.
15. Yes they should remain undeveloped; this is already a crowded area with little enough green space left.
16. YES [to first question] NO [to others] The Roundhill is now densely populated and to have an increase in the numbers living here should NOT be allowed. Where would vehicles generated by these proposed developments park? There is already a severe parking problem in the area. How would emergency vehicles, delivery vans etc. access these areas?
17. The 1978 "Town Plan" designates these areas as conservation areas.
18. The spaces should be kept green.
19. I think that the remaining spaces should be left alone. Roundhill is very developed already and there is no room left for any more buildings. If every inch of land is built on it will feel claustrophobic (even more than it already does).
20. Small houses in keeping with the area are probably ok. Taking up no more than say 50% of the plot, and of course they must have off road parking.
21. YES - should remain undeveloped (We have no local park - the least we can do is keep the few green bits we have).
22. I think green spaces, which are rare enough in this day and age, are being overdeveloped and a halt should be put to it immediately. Perhaps more of the brownfield type spaces should be developed and the green spaces left well alone before we totally destroy the natural diversity.
23. These areas should remain undeveloped. If the land has development on already, re-development is a possibility but not at a cost to the nature/green areas or to the character of the area. Acceptable and desirable properties that fit in with the surroundings. No more flats; parking is at a premium now and it's getting worse.
24. We do think that any remaining green space in Round Hill should be left undeveloped; after all there is little enough green space in the area.
25. Green spaces in Roundhill should be protected against encroaching development. Our gardens and few remaining green areas act as wildlife corridors. The trees and flora also offset CO2 and pollution as well as providing a peaceful sanctuary for residents. There is too much overdevelopment in Brighton and Hove. Many rundown dwellings could be brought back into use.
26. Yes I think all green spaces should remain undeveloped - I am hoping to remove the paving in my back garden (on the grounds that the land needs to breathe. I think there is a case for making it a requirement to request permission to put paving down in gardens especially in a conservation area.
27. There needs to be a balance between open space and development, with each proposal considered on its merits. That said, the balance in Round Hill seems uneven, so remaining open space should be carefully considered.
28. Generally do not think all these green spaces should be developed. The old garage site may be acceptable. We are particularly concerned at the Cat creep development or any other development actually in Roundhill.
29. YES they should remain undeveloped, the land should be left as it is; due to wildlife that have made their homes and flora.
30. Although I appreciate the need to build new dwellings in the city, this must not be at any cost. The spaces between the buildings in Round Hill are historically important as part of the original road layout but also provide much needed visual amenity for residents who are already crammed into an area with little open space available.
31. Should absolutely 100% be undeveloped, can we not ever stop building and allow the small amount of nature we do have to flourish? It’s a disgusting thought of more blocks here. The area is just about bursting at the seams with cars.... more flats means more cars. Yet again we can see the city council bowing to more thoughtless development ideas which take away the beauty we still have...I don't think any type of buildings are suitable.... why not maybe invest money into keep and caring for the nature there...city council do you actually care? Can you see past ££££? It's not just about us here now it's about the future.... and how our next generations can continue.... with no nature it does not look bright!
32. Yes - because we have no public open space within Roundhill and because they are one of the features which define the area from afar - a unique townscape vista. We are all only caretakers and should consider that we need to add to the quality of the area by replacing original features such as slate roofs and windows - and defining features of conservation areas such as the green ribbons.
33. Yes - the green spaces are part of the character of the Roundhill conservation area, and it would be a great loss if that character changed.
34. I believe yes good to develop in areas that can take more people. Already Round Hill is sardine packed with people. No more room for cars here. Let alone more bodies.
35. We think the green spaces should remain undeveloped. They are our 'lungs' in an otherwise built-up area with no public open space. Also important for wildlife.
36. We are not opposed in principle to small-scale development e.g. extensions, granny flats etc. by owner-occupiers for their own needs and use. However, we are opposed to larger scale developments as we feel that this will impact on the wildlife habitats locally and will remove valuable green space which is at a premium. We also feel that the infrastructure (parking in particular) in Roundhill cannot support larger developments.
37. Leave green spaces. No development.
38. Remain undeveloped. There are hideous, unused parts of Brighton where houses could be built. We want to keep our wildlife - it's all about profits for the few in these proposals, esp. CARELET.
39. Yes I do think the remaining green spaces should remain undeveloped. Our view would be destroyed. Parking the car is impossible here so any more developments would be most unwelcome due to volume of traffic.
40. Yes certainly.
4 . Definitely remain undeveloped
42. Yes - they add to the quality of life of residents and most are quite unsuitable for building on i.e. on steep slopes or sandwiched between other buildings.
43. Yes I think the remaining green spaces should remain undeveloped because (1) we do not have any parks within walking distance, especially for the elderly (2) the green spaces provide a vital habitation for wildlife under threat (3) there are enough people living in the area already.
44. Leave them as they are. Towns/cities also need a certain amount of wildlife.
45. No buildings should be put on these spaces. There is a lack of green spaces in this area. There should be open spaces for wild life.
46. I feel strongly that the remaining green spaces in Round Hill should remain undeveloped.
47. Yes, they should remain undeveloped. The area is already overcrowded and also lacks amenities. The green spaces contribute enormously to the character of the area and the quality of our lives. Developments in these spaces always crowd into, and impact on, surrounding residential properties. Question 2 Would you like to see a greater level of protection in place for some of the green spaces in Round Hill (such as designation as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance)?
A significant majority of respondents were in favour of a greater level of protection (54 responses out of 56). Respondents particularly highlighted the value provided by wildlife and trees in the area (13 responses) and the area most mentioned for conservation was the space between Richmond Road/Wakefield Road and Round Hill Crescent which is bisected by the Cat Creep (4 responses). Some felt that SNCI status would be of limited use or should only be sought if there were particular species/features to be safeguarded (2 responses). Some of the comments on question 2
1. I would love to see this occur.
2. Yes, it is time these plans were stopped. This is not a suitable area for further development.
3. I personally, would love to see any protection put in place to preserve these areas. This area NEEDS green spaces.
4. YES. We do the best we can in our garden, but already we've noticed the decline of birds, mammals and insects.
5. Yes. With the middle part of the green ribbon between Richmond Road and Round Hill Crescent being an award-winning wildlife garden, it would make sense to designate all of that green ribbon (from Ashdown Road all the way down Wakefield Road), and other green areas in Round Hill, as SNCIs. There is absolutely no public amenity space in this neighbourhood and these green 'lungs' are vital to the character of the Conservation Area and also to the well being of its inhabitants, human and animal.
7. Yes, protection from 'development' proposals.
8. I would very much like to see this.
9. If the buildings of roundhill are precious enough to preserve as 'conservation area' status, then surely so are the spaces between them.
10. Yes - I think Round Hill is a special case (but then we'd all say that, wouldn't we!)
12. YES - A greater level of protection against planning applications is important. There appears to be political weight behind wholesale house building in the South East which is at the expense of an already densely populated region with implications on the infrastructure (i.e. roads, sewage, power...) Sites of nature that enhance an area should be exempt from developers' plans with brown field areas a priority.
13. The term itself, 'conservation area' affirms the desire to preserve the historical past. Roundhill is congested as it is with a flourishing student population and inadequate parking during term times. Further building would add to the congestion and destroy the character.
14. Yes - I think all the green spaces should be protected as part of the conservation of the area. There is a lot of wildlife in the wooded area bordering the cat creep steps that moves in and out of gardens.
16. YES We have very little in the way of open green spaces in the area and I would not want to lose those we already have.
19. Yes! Protect all the green spaces left before they disappear forever.
20. Only if they really are important sites.
22. If this is the only way we can prevent our green spaces being lost to expensive housing developments then yes but I'd prefer councillors etc to use their common sense and realise that the local infrastructure and local natural diversity cannot cope with further development.
23. The area is losing these spaces fast and requires some sort of protection against greedy land owners who don't care about the people or area, they don't live here! All they are thinking about is money. How many people can I fit in the smallest space I can find?
24. Yes we would like to see a greater level of protection for green space in Round Hill.
25. It would be something to aim for - unfortunately planning laws seem to favour development and car parks over green spaces (witness all the front gardens being returned into parking lots!). Perhaps we could find a rare species and get the site designated as a SSI.
26. Yes - certainly the orchards behind the (Cats Creep) gardens in Richmond Road and certainly the copse at the bottom of Princes Road.
27. Greater protection is only appropriate if the space or some feature of it deserves such protection.
28. Yes but apart from Cat Creep area where is there?
29. Yes there should be more protection for wildlife around this area; there is little enough of it as it is.
30. Yes - provision for urban forestry and wildlife is an important part of making Brighton an attractive and well-planned city. SNCI status will help to highlight the value to residents and the city as a whole.
31. Yes much higher level of protection. if this is not in place, the round hill and other areas will lose all identity and beauty like so many other once glorious places...
32. Yes - particularly more protection for trees which may not on their own be worthy of
preservation but when considered as part of their contribution to green ribbons and the immediate environment are.
33. I think this is an excellent idea and would preserve the green areas for wildlife and those who live and view the Roundhill area from across the valley.
34. Yes I would to see greater levels of protection for our very precious disappearing green spaces. I adore wild life and would like to preserve it. It is a huge pleasure in my life. I'm sure others agree.
35. This would be a very good plan to protect the area from over-development.
36. We would like to see more protection for the green spaces locally. Many local residents live in flats without gardens and for them these strips of greenery must be invaluable. We appreciate the diversity of wildlife (birds, foxes, etc.) they attract and are relieved that the large local cat population have other places to use as a toilet besides our garden. There are plenty of developments already going up in this vicinity (Lewes Rd Technical College development, London Rd. Housing Association flats, Part ownership flats on Lewes Rd). Many of these are still unoccupied and we can't see there is a need for further developments in light of this.
37. Yes - can't trust the Council adequately.
38. Yes definitely - we are fortunate to have this rich wildlife in the heart of Brighton but it must be protected.
39. Yes - a site of NCI: the Round Hill does have a history which ought to be preserved also. Brighton doesn't have enough green spaces as it is and they are necessary "breathing spaces" to counteract the pollution from main roads such as Upper Lewes Road.
40. Yes, that's very important. We need to make this land safe for the future, as pressure to develop this land will certainly increase.
41. Definitely - whatever it takes.
43. That is a good idea. What about using some of the spaces for the local community i.e. public gardens?
45. Definitely - particularly for the strips of land between Richmond Road/Wakefield Road and Round Hill Crescent & Also Richmond Road/Mayo Road.
46. Yes I would like to see a greater level of green space protection in Round Hill.
47. Yes. Ideas for some kind of conservation garden in the space adjoining Princes Road and railway were imaginative but require a framework for recognition by the Council and local lanowners, as well as developers, that such developments are not encouraged or appropriate. The designation of a SNCI sounds an excellent idea.