Community space set to make way for 104 homes in Hove

The plans for the Westerman site by architects Morgan Carn
The plans for the Westerman site by architects Morgan Carn

A 104-home development in Hove was approved by planners this afternoon (July 12), despite concerns over the loss of community space.

The Westerman Complex on School Road is currently home to an artist collective, a children’s play facility and a car parts shop and church.

Developer Cross Stone Securities wants to demolish the site and build 83 apartments, 21 houses and 572 square metres office space in West Hove. There are plans for 89 parking spaces, four motorcycle spaces and cycle parking.

The scheme is set to deliver 40 per cent affordable homes, with shared ownership and affordable rent. The new buildings will be between three and five storeys.

There were 183 letters of objection by residents, who said the development does not reflect the area, would cause increased parking problems and traffic, and that there was a lack of school places.

Conservative councillor for the area Robert Nemeth spoke up for residents, and lamented the loss of community space, which he said ‘is loved in this area’.

When the plans were first unveiled, Red Herring Studio, an arts collective based at the site for 18 years, said the scheme signalled ‘the gentrification of Brighton and Hove has made living and working in the city beyond reach for much of the creative community that defines its culture’.

Artists said with property prices rising, and suitable industrial sites getting scarcer, 'it will be a challenge to find an affordable new home for this well-established and vital artistic community’.

Councillors at today's planning meeting weighed up the loss of community space and much-needed affordable homes, but eventually voted to approve the development.

Developers are set to pay contributions to the council of £210,000 for local education, £250,000 for open spaces and indoor recreation, £74,000 for sustainable transport and £45,000 towards improving public spaces.

It has also said that 20 per cent of the workforce during demolition and construction will be local.

Councillor Julie Cattell, planning committee chairman, said: “Again this application has seen us securing our top target figure of 40 per cent affordable housing for local people. It’s the right thing to do wherever possible.

“I also very much welcome the fact we’re able to retain jobs on this site in modern premises of a kind that businesses want.”