‘Enough is enough’: Hove residents to campaign against high rise plans

Neighbours at the Hove Gold meeting look at an interpretation of ideas for the Lyons Close area created at a planning design workshop
Neighbours at the Hove Gold meeting look at an interpretation of ideas for the Lyons Close area created at a planning design workshop

Campaigners fighting plans to build high-rise blocks in Hove were shocked to learn about a separate proposal for a hotel and more flats.

The latest scheme, by RKO Developments, proposes building 80 flats and an 80-room hotel on the corner of Palmeira Avenue and Cromwell Road.

RKO’s application appeared on Brighton and Hove City Council’s website this week after it was validated last Friday (February 15).

Details of the scheme were shared by campaign group Hove Gold at a meeting on Wednesday (February 20).

Hove Gold is working to draw up a ‘neighbourhood plan’ with a view to restricting the growing number of tower blocks in Goldsmid ward.

The meeting last night was told that the proposed building would be between three and seven storeys high, with a basement.

It would contain a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats as well as a hotel.

Lyndhurst Road resident Toby Peirce told the meeting, attended by about 50 people, that he was concerned about the impact of the proposed flats and hotel next to his parents’ home in Palmeira Avenue.

He said: “I’m concerned about the infrastructure and in particular the crossroads by the Palmeira pub.

“If you build 80 flats and an 80-room hotel, you’re doubling the impact overnight.”

But the meeting focused on existing plans to build high-rise blocks in Lyon Close and Davigdor Road.

A planning application for the Lyon Close scheme, submitted by Crest Nicholson, is due to go before the council’s planning committee in March.

This involves demolishing a plumber’s merchant, joinery and Toolstation trade supplier to make way for four blocks of flats up to eight storeys high.

And an application for a block of up to nine storeys – on the site of the old Hyde Housing Association offices in Davigdor Road – has been submitted by Withdean Commercial, which was set up by an expanding Hove business, Imex Exhibitions.

Imex wants to move to bigger offices. The company said that it had outgrown its current base at the Agora building in Ellen Street, Hove.

The planning application for flats and offices is expected to go before councillors by the summer.

Hove Gold campaigners said that they were concerned that most of the flats in the Artisan building, on the corner of Davigdor Road and Lyon Close, had not been sold by the developer, Crest Nicholson.

The block was bought by Southern Housing Association for people to buy and rent but the flats were described as ‘unaffordable’ by people at the meeting.

Sam Goult, of Lyndhurst Road, described it as the ‘elephant in the room’.

He said: “We want it to be a success as it has been built and we don’t want it to be a while elephant.

“It is more housing units which are unaffordable to those that need them and unwanted by those who can afford them.

“It is mainly empty, it is too tall and the wrong type of housing. We don’t want to repeat those mistakes for the five blocks that want planning permission.”

Mr Goult said that Hove Gold was not a NIMBY (not in my back yard) group but wanted to see homes for families in the area.

Alison Dean, of Colbourne Road, said that she left laughing after going to Artisan with her son to look at the flats.

She said that even with shared ownership, an income of £45,000 was necessary for a  one-bedroom flat.

She said: “There are more than 50 blocks of flats in Goldsmid now. It’s time to take a stand and say enough is enough and this needs to be handled sensitively.

“Yes, we need housing and our ward needs to take responsibility but such a development needs to be terraces and townhouses – not tower blocks.

“Terraces and houses make more communities than tower blocks.”

Hove Gold is forming a team to create a neighbourhood plan in an effort to halt the number of tall buildings.

The group also wants to encourage people to comment again on amended plans for the Lyon Close scheme as the plan for one of the blocks is now for eight storeys instead of ten.

Comments on the Crest Nicholson scheme can be made by visiting planningapps.brighton-hove.gov.uk and searching for application number BH2018/01738.

The Imex scheme is application number BH2018/02926.

The RKO scheme to build flats and a hotel is application number BH2019/00127.