Patcham retirement flats scheme ‘horrendous’

McCarthy and Stone retirements flats in Patcham (photo from Brighton and Hove City Council's planning portal).
McCarthy and Stone retirements flats in Patcham (photo from Brighton and Hove City Council's planning portal).

‘Horrendous’ plans for 44 retirement flats in the heart of Patcham have been opposed by the council.

McCarthy and Stone is looking to demolish five homes off Old London Road and replace them with a three storey building and has submitted a planning application to Brighton and Hove City Council.

However the company has since lodged an appeal on the grounds of non-determination, arguing that the council has not made a decision on its application within the statutory timeframe.

The council’s planning committee voted to oppose the application on Wednesday (January 11), but the planning inspectorate will now make the final decision.

Councillor Lee Wares (Con, Patcham), spoke about the flood risk to the site.

He said: “Every year we have to review our plans to evacuate people in the event of flooding. The thought of bringing in dozens of vulnerable people is horrendous.

“This is a flat-pack design that has no place in a community and village such as Patcham. It speaks volumes that the developer is not here to answer questions.

“This is an application that has come before the council twice before and has been refused twice before. They appealed twice and withdrew twice.

“But if the planning inspector was to ignore the unanimous wishes of this planning committee to refuse this application and not listen to 360 residents who have objected, it would be a travesty.”

His views were echoed by councillors from Labour and Green councillors – and were spelt out after Chris Balchin, who lives in Old London Road, who shared pictures of previous floods in the street.

Mr Balchin said: “You had water coming off the Downs. You had sewage in the road.”

He said that there were serious flood alerts or problematic floods every two to three years.

An official report presented to the Planning Committee listed flood alerts in each of the past five years.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty (Green, Brunswick & Adelaide) recalled Christmas Eve 2012 when he was on duty in place of the council leader, where both Patcham and Portslade were on flood alert.

He added: “From that point on, we’ve had repeated warnings. This isn’t an area that is appropriate for development.”

Councillor Lynda Hyde (Con, Rottingdean Coastal), told the meeting at Hove Town Hall: “Despite Southern Water’s comments, I’m concerned that the applicant hasn’t responded.”

Both Southern Water and the Environment Agency set out reservations, with the latter describing Patcham as a flood risk hotspot.

And Southern Water said that extra local infrastructure would be needed to cope with the proposed retirement home which would otherwise add to the risk of local floods.

Councillor Hyde said that the developer had not entered into talks to resolve these issues and leaving them unresolved was part of the reason for the council running out of time.

She added: “This will totally detract from the street scene. It’s not in the conservation area but it’s very close to it. It will be totally out of character for the area.”

Councillor Adrian Morris (LAb, Queen’s Park) said: “I’m disappointed that the applicant didn’t engage appropriately with the planning department during the 13 weeks.”

Campaign group Protect Patcham is urging those who have not already objected to the application to write to the planning inspecorate.

For more information on how to do so visit www.protectpatcham.co.uk