Former Brighton maternity hospital could make way for flats

New plans for the former Brighton maternity hospital site in Buckingham Road are due to go before councillors next week.

Wednesday, 8th August 2018, 7:07 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 2:54 am
Buckingham-Road-80-Buckingham-Road-and-76-79 before it was stripped back

This is the third application relating to the plot on the corner of Buckingham Road and Upper Gloucester Road in the past few years.

The latest plans involve the partial demolition of 80 Buckingham Road, which was built in the mid 1970s, and the construction of a five-storey building over a basement to create 20 flats and a community space.

Neighbouring Victorian buildings which formed part of the complex, at 76-79 Buckingham Road, are to be converted into 14 homes with car parking, cycle parking and landscaping.

80 Buckingham Road as it is now on Google Streetview

The building once housed Brighton Grammar School and later the Sussex Maternity Hospital where thousands of Brightonians were born.

It then became an old people’s home. And until 2015 it was used by the council’s social services department.

In 2016 permission was given to demolish the modern building and build a five-storey block of 20 flats and convert the houses back into four homes.

A further proposal in 2017 involved subdividing the Victorian town houses into 14 flats and reusing the existing structure at number 80 but without incorporating any community space.

The current plan builds on the 2017 application by reusing the structural frame at number 80 and keeping the community space.

Homes in the five-storey building would be five one-bedroom flats, 14 two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom flat.

In 76-79 Buckingham Road there would be 12 two-bedroom and two one-bedroom flats.

Buckingham Developments (Brighton) has committed to all 14 of the flats in the town houses being affordable homes, which is more than the council’s policy of 40 per cent.

The development is designed to be car-free but eight parking spaces are available on the lower level of the new block.

Alan Seabrook, of Buckingham Road, objected to the plans saying that the building would be too tall and out of keeping with the local conservation area, as well as raising concerns about affordable housing

He said: “Wrong target group – not housing for private profit AGAIN, make all housing on the site REAL affordable housing and social housing ALL aimed at people who are in need of housing.

“This is the least it should be in the light of the core services removed by the sale of 76-80 Buckingham Road.”

Stephen Anderson, of Buckingham Road, is concerned about the impact of 34 extra homes on parking in the area.

In his letter of objection he said that there was a waiting list for parking permits – and that households in the area can buy visitors permits.

He said: “The promotion of alternative methods of transport in the  assessment are frankly laughable. Walking will be promoted by maps and health benefits?

“Unsurprisingly there is no evidence provided to support this proposition.

“When applications are considered for developments which do not provide  on-site parking to address the demand they may create, the impact of potential overspill parking needs to be considered.”

Rob Heale, of nearby Chatham Place, also raised concerns about parking and called for more visitor parking.

He was pleased to see affordable housing included and said: “These proposals are an improvement to the previous planning application and the inclusion of 14 affordable ‘social rented’ flats is welcomed since this meets the council requirement for a minimum 40 per cent affordable homes in such developments.

“Some of the 20 private ‘market’ flats should be sold as shared ownership homes.”

Officers recommend approving plans with conditions including developer contributions totalling more than £150,000, including cash for schools, open spaces and sustainable transport.

The conditions include: a £30,000 contribution towards secondary education costs at Hove Park and Blatchington Mill schools

The planning committee is set to meet on Wednesday August 15 at Hove Town Hall from 2pm. The meeting is open to the public.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.