Despite a powerful and well-argued speech from Councillor Lizzie Deane opposing the scheme, the Planning Committee of Brighton & Hove City Council decided to ignore the objections of over 140 local residents and community groups, including the WHCA and the Conservation Advisory Group, by giving permission for a six storey apartment hotel which will dominate the skyline south of the oldest church in Brighton and will cause misery to the residents of Wykeham Terrace.
The Planning Committee’s decision of 27 June was taken amid considerable confusion. After Lizzie Deane had spoken, a vote was taken which went against the development. People, who had packed the public gallery, left thinking that the wishes of local residents had prevailed and that this hugely unpopular scheme had been halted. It was only during the course of the next few hours and days that they heard that this decision had been overturned later that afternoon by a second decision in favour of it.
The party hotel now to be built will be another “Light ApartHotel” with 56 apartments. The first of these has been built in Manchester and to get a flavour of what might soon be happening on balconies and terraces a stone’s throw from the gardens of Saint Nicholas Church and the bedrooms of Wykeham Terrace, let’s take a look at the “Light ApartHotel” website.
The so-called “boutique” hotel describes itself as one of the city’s premier hen and stag party venues. The hotel offers entertainment packages on its roof terraces ranging from bongo players and karaoke to fire acts and “angle grinders”. If you really want to relax with just your closest friends then six-person hot tubs with built-in hi fi systems are directly accessible from the penthouse apartments, and if you get bored with all that there is always the prospect of an evening of entertainment with convicted drug smuggler Howard Marks. Yes, you may be thinking I have made up this last example of entertainment in a “Light ApartHotel”, but I can assure you that the man who served a seven-year sentence is appearing this month alongside a rock group called “Fun Lovin’ Criminals” who claim to be “big fans of Howard” and who’ve heard that the penthouse veranda has the best views across the city so they “can’t wait to check it out”.
It may well be that residents will be checking out of the neighbourhood of Queen’s Square Brighton before the proposed hotel’s guests and entertainers are checking out the views.