Planners turn down scheme for student flats at Vogue Gyratory

The site at 119 Lewes Road is occupied by a hand car-wash
The site at 119 Lewes Road is occupied by a hand car-wash

A scheme to build a five-storey block of student flats at the Vogue Gyratory has been rejected.

A scheme to build a five-storey block of student flats on the site of a hand car-wash at the Vogue Gyratory in Brighton has been rejected unanimously.

The proposal for 65 self-contained studio flats included communal areas, cycle parking, a plant room, and storage for rubbish and recycling.

The applicant - McLaren, the property developer - has already started work on a four-storey building on a neighbouring site. And it hopes to build another block on the other side of Lewes Road in the centre of Vogue Gyratory.

Fourteen people living in neighbouring homes in Gladstone Place were among the objectors to the building, which they said would tower over their homes.

Brighton and Hove City Council planning committee was told that the site - at 119 Lewes Road, between The Bear pub and The Gladstone - was in an area with many houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The area is popular with students.

Jim Tarzey, the planning agent and a director of Pegasus Planning Group, said the building would sit in a tall-building corridor and that there were taller buildings along Lewes Road.

Mr Tarzey added that the proposed purpose-built managed student accommodation was needed in Lewes Road. It would free up family homes, he said, and contribute to the city’s housing supply.

Councillor Les Hamilton, a Labour councillor who is a former chair of the planning committee, was one of a number of members to set out reservations - although several welcomed the scheme in principle.

Cllr Hamilton criticised the 18-square-metre size of the proposed student flats - which, conventionally, would be twice the size. He said: “There’s too much development on this site.”

After the 12 committee members unanimously rejected the schemel, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, the chair, told the developers he hoped that they would be in touch with planning officials to discuss how the scheme could move forward.

Afterwards, McLaren said that it would be in touch with the council planning department with the aim of submitting a revised application. If this is done within six months, the company would avoid having to pay another £25,000 application fee.