Decision due on major Hove redevelopment

The fate of a £25 million scheme to build flats, shops and offices in Hove is due to be decided by councillors next week.

Development location site

The plans involve demolishing three buildings made up of six semi-detached houses in Portland Road, Hove, between the corner of Olive Road and the Portland Road Trading Estate.

In their place, Martin Homes hopes to put up two buildings – three and four storeys high – containing 47 flats and 1,650 square metres of commercial space.

The ground floor of the proposed 40ft building fronting Portland Road is expected to include a mix of shops and cafés or restaurants – and possibly a gym.

More than 230 people have contacted Brighton and Hove City Council to object to the scheme which includes basement parking for 63 cars as well as bicycles and motorbikes.

It is also expected to include 19 “affordable” homes – just over the 40 per cent level expected by the council – two of which would be fully wheelchair accessible.

Martin Homes submitted its planning application for outline planning permission more than two years ago on a site where planning permission already exists for two three-storey blocks of flats.

The company is also currently adding a floor to the neighbouring Martello Lofts, formerly the local VAT office for Customs and Excise, which became Revenue and Customs before the offices were turned into flats.

The latest application has won the backing of officials and is due to be decided by the council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday (8 July).

A report to the committee said that objectors opposed the scheme, saying that it was “out of character” with the area, an overdevelopment and the wrong place for a four-storey building.

They also criticised the high proportion of studio and one-bed flats – more than half – in an area where there is a shortage of family homes.

One objector, whose details were redacted on the council website, said: “The developer’s consultants referred to wide carriageways with parking either side, fair enough for Portland Road but Olive Road?

“Without another means of getting across the railway, no development of this size should be considered by the council.

“As a community, we want to enhance our neighbourhood and build on brownfield sites or infill sites, not demolish attractive homes which reflect the character of the area.”

Another anonymous objector wrote: “I’m not opposed to the creation of additional houses. I know the country (and indeed local authority) needs to build a significant number of properties to keep up with demand.

“But that does not excuse approving a poorly designed property in this area. This is being squeezed into a space that is not fit for purpose.”

If the application is approved, Martin Homes is expected to pay almost £400,000 in “developer contributions” towards sustainable transport, parks and gardens, local employment, sports and education.

The site is about quarter of a mile from Portslade station and the developer would be expected to draw up a five-year travel plan for people living in the flats.

This would include subsidised bus and/or train tickets for at least a year and subsidised membership of a car club membership and the Brighton bike share scheme.

Martin Homes said that its Portland Road proposal was one of a number of local projects, including housing schemes in Whitehawk Way and Buckingham Road, in addition to the Martello Lofts extension.

The London business also has at least four other projects in Sussex – Slaugham Manor, near Crawley, the old sorting office, in Hassocks, Cyprus Road, in Burgess Hill, and the old brewery, in Wivelsfield.

David Martin, of Martin Homes, said: “Martin Homes are happy to continually bring new investment into Brighton and Hove, creating much-needed high-quality affordable homes and jobs for local people.

“Portland Road and its residents deserve the best and, after two years of negotiations with the local planning authority, we are now confident of delivering a scheme which benefits all.”