Local Planning

Jim Gowans, WHCA’s rep on the Conservation Advisory Group, assesses local developments….

Now that the final cost to public funds seems to be approaching £900,000, which is an increase of 50% on the figure quoted last year, this controversial scheme continues to divide opinion. The Christmas tree was, however, generally welcomed; but whether this gesture (peace offering?) by the City Council will be repeated in future years remains to be seen. Pictures of an articulated truck driving across the pavement in front of The Small Batch Coffee Co. have caused serious alarm and eye witness accounts of buses driving across the pavement outside The Kitchen Table are bound to raise questions about road safety. When we all thought the work was finished it started again with the road being dug up outside the offices of Mishon Mackay! Meanwhile the promise to cut away the tarmac choking the Elm Tree roots remains unfulfilled.

The owners have appealed against the City Council’s decision to refuse an application to add a flat roof in order to create a loft extension to this Victorian villa. The Council’s planning officer had said that “the loss of a traditional roof form would result in a visually harmful and awkward alteration to the property”.

This is the former Seven Dials Restaurant on the aforementioned roundabout. It is ironic that just as the roundabout gets a makeover meant to encourage Brighton’s “café culture” the owners have decided that this prime location would be better used as offices!

Congratulations to the owners for proposing to enhance the conservation area by installing double hung timber sash windows and a sash box of an appropriate design. The bay-fronted, mid-Victorian houses of Surrey Street are particularly attractive and it must be hoped that the current changes to traffic flows in the immediate vicinity will allow them to be admired more fully. Meanwhile, problems have been reported elsewhere because property owners in the conservation area have been unaware of the need to obtain planning permission before replacing doors and windows especially. Whilst The Whistler always strives to remind local residents of the planning rules which protect the character of the conservation area, it must be hoped that the City Council will increase its efforts to inform and educate.

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