Your way? No way, say 10,000

The ground floor of Clarendon Mansions - which was home to the Mariner pub - could be converted into a Burger King
The ground floor of Clarendon Mansions - which was home to the Mariner pub - could be converted into a Burger King

Thousands signed a petition opposing plans for a Burger King in The Lanes.

More than 10,000 people signed a petition in 24 hours, opposing plans to turn the old Mariner pub in East Street into a Burger King.

Objectors claim the fast-food chain is unsuitable for the area, which is famed for its small independent shops.

Liam Hardy set up the online petition on Wednesday - the final day of public consultation - and said: “We believe the move to open more chain shops on East Street signals the beginning of the end on a irreparable slope of genericism, that sees our local elected council try ever so hard to turn our city centre into a carbon copy of every other British city, with more HandM's, more Topshops, more Burger Kings and, ultimately, less of the Brighton we came here for and love.”

The petition went viral on social media, and as the Brighton and Hove Independent went to press, 10,004 people had put their name to the cause.

The plans for the site, the ground floor of Clarendon Mansions, were submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council last month, by franchisee Daryl Stutchbury, who formerly ran the Burger King at Aquarium Terraces.

The planning application is for the installation of three air conditioning units, two chiller and freezer condenser units, and “other associated alterations” in the Grade II-listed building.

It is not actually to change the use of the building to a Burger King restaurant - although it is cited in the application.

Above the ground floor, there are four storeys containing 12 flats - which are all occupied.

The ground floor has been empty since the Mariner pub closed several years ago.

Stuart Lauchlan, chair of Clarendon Mansions Residents Association, said: “We're very pleased that 10,000 people share our objection to the opening of a fast food multi-national on the ground floor of a Grade 2 Listed building, home to 40 people in 12 well-maintained flats who are entitled to enjoy those homes without being hit with the stench of fat and processed meat waste.

“It's interesting that the applicant has not yet applied for change of use, but is instead taking a 'salami tactics' approach by applying to stick air conditioners and condensers to the walls and ceilings of a building that's been in place at the entrance to the Old Town since 1869.

“As the council's policy is to encourage gentrification of this area of Brighton and as it defines East Street as the entrance to The Lanes, we hope that the incongruity of a Burger King being the first thing people see of the Old Town will result in this application being denied. It's not wanted by residents, by local businesses, by councillors or by our MP Caroline Lucas.

“We're as keen as anyone to get the ground floor occupied, but a multi-national burger joint is not the answer. Why Whitbread, the current lease holders, don't want to open one of their own franchises is a mystery.”

The application is set to be determined by the council by November 17.