Residents tell planning inspector of '˜distress' over 70-home Astoria plan

People living near an historic cinema site which could soon become flats urged developers to think of the human cost at a planning appeal this week.

Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 9:49 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:04 am
The Astoria building at Gloucester Place

ThreeSixty Developers had appealed against the city council’s refusal of its 70-home plan for the derelict building on Gloucester Place earlier this year. But the council has since withdrawn its objections, after amendments to the scheme had resolved councillor’s concerns over natural light levels in the homes.

The case was heard by a government planning inspector on Tuesday, December 13, at Jubilee Library.

At the appeal hearing, North Laine residents told the planning inspector they were ‘distressed’ by plans to convert the historic cinema site into 70 privately rented apartments and are unhappy with the consultations carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council.

Blenheim Place

Maxine Horn, 45, of Blenheim Place, said: “The original consultation process consisted of a general letter without an envelope merely addressed to ‘The owner/occupier’ delivered sporadically to some properties and not to others.”

Residents also expressed concern over the relocation of the entrance to the building being relocated to the corner of Blenheim Place and Gloucester Place, as well as a proposed bin store which would be accessed on Blenheim Place. They said the changes could cause increased noise, footfall and rubbish.

Ms Horn said: “Why should we have all the noise of taking out rubbish that we don’t even benefit from?”

One concerned mother described the extra noise and uncertainty as ‘distressing to the community’ and urged developers to think of the human cost.

If the plans are approved, the Astoria building would be demolished to make way for 70 private rented homes, with a TV room, landscaped courtyard, a bookable dining room and kitchen for entertaining, bookable guest room, gym, cycles spaces and concierge service.

The developers, ThreeSixty, is predominantly a student housing developer, but had branched out to residential for the Astoria project.