Neighbours oppose plans for Brighton block of flats

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Plans for an eight-floor block of flats have come under fire from neighbours for being too high.

Brighton and Hove City Council wants to build the block of 30 one and two-bedroom flats across seven storeys, with a lower ground floor too, as part of its New homes for Neighbourhoods programme.

All 30 flats would be available for “affordable social rent”, which would be significantly cheaper than flats let by a typical private landlord in the same area.

The site in Selsfield Drive is next to Moulsecoomb Library on the former council housing office site, facing on to Lewes Road.

During pre-planning consultations in 2014, 2016 and 2017 councillors expressed their concerns about the height of the building.

A public consultation and exhibition was held in February this year.

Neighbours have sent 11 letters to the council, opposing the scheme.

One objector, about to buy a flat in a neighbouring block, wrote: “I am shocked that this type of proposal is even being considered, let only commenced with the planning application.

“The people who have submitted this request can’t see how ridiculous this plan is even once they have all of the drawings and visualisations. It will have a detrimental affect on Brighton.”

Another objector, living opposite the site, expressed their concern about the lack of communication.

They wrote: “I am aware of the need for new housing and would usually support this.

“However, I live opposite this site and so far the council have taken away our parking, caused complete chaos because they will not tell us what is happening and have just boarded up the road outside.

“The lack of communication/consideration to existing residents is frustrating.

“The building being proposed is also three storeys higher than the rest in the area which would compromise my privacy living opposite.”

Another online objection said: “I believe that this application shows total disregard for the character of the area, the availability of resources, the living standards of the existing community and the wellbeing of the city in general.”

The Regency Society opposed the plans, describing Moulsecoomb as providing “homes fit for heroes” in an early cottage-style garden suburb in the style of social reformer Ebenezer Howard.

The society said: “The pleasing street plan follows the topography of the Downs and comprises generous front and rear gardens and expansive grass verges.

“While the development under construction on the nearby Preston Barracks site sets a precedent for tall buildings along the Lewes Road, these form a cluster, whereas the proposed building in Selsfield Drive sits awkwardly with the surrounding low-rise blocks, dominates a key piece of the original landscaping and is insensitive to the general character of the area.”

A report to councillors described Lewes Road as a tall buildings corridor as part of the City Plan – the council’s planning blueprint.

If the application is granted, the council has agreed to pay £19,000 in “developer contributions” to the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA).

It would also put £75,000 towards open space and indoor sport improvements in the surrounding area.

This could include funding for Saunders Park, Goodwood Way, Hodshrove Lane, Farm Green, Ashurst Road, Barcombe Road or Maggie’s Corner.

Other possibilities include funding improvements to open spaces in Selsfield Drive or Wild Park or the sports facilities at Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre, Withdean Sports Complex, Wild Park or Stanmer Park.

The Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall from 2pm on September 12. The meeting is open to the public.

Sarah Booker-Lewis , Local Democracy Reporting Service