Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Dec 18

Buckingham Road

The major development site at the corner of Buckingham Road and Upper Gloucester Road which was featured in this column some months ago still stands half demolished with no work having been carried out on site for some time. The City Council was ‘minded to grant’ permission for 34 flats to be created on the site between 76 to 80 Buckingham Road.

The planning permission does, however, require the applicant to meet a number of conditions by December 5th this year, failing which the permission is revoked. The stumbling block seems to be the developer’s inability to find a housing association or other registered social housing provider to take responsibility for the 14. homes designated as ‘affordable’.  The Planning Committee was assured in August that this development would be more attractive to social landlords because of the generous number of social housing units and the fact that they were grouped together, but if this is the case it must be wondered why the deadline is now so close with no sign of progress.

Conditions that must be met by the developer also include a £97,000 contribution towards open spaces in the area, £30,000 for secondary education and £16,500 for sustainable transport.

The corner building, which is partially demolished, was built in the mid-70s and occupied by the Council’s Adult Social Services until March 2015, since when it has been vacant as have the four Victorian town houses next to it.

West Hill Conservation Area

The West Hill conservation area boundary is essentially Dyke Road to the west, Chatham Place to the north, and from where Chatham Place meets Howard Place it follows the railway line south taking in Brighton Station. It then follows Queen’s Road south from the Queen’s Head pub along its west side to Church Street but then also includes 120 to 124 on the east side of Queen’s Road. These are the Victorian buildings which house the Armed Forces recruitment office, the Laptop Supermarket and Ackerman Music.

The southern boundary is at the back of houses in Church Street and therefore does not include the church of St Nicholas and its churchyards. These are included in the Montpelier and Clifton Hill conservation area. Because it is not always easy to confirm whether or not a property is in a conservation area merely by looking at the maps provided on the BHCC website, it is advisable to consult the Conservation Areas Street Directory which is also on the website. This gives precise addresses.

Within the West Hill conservation area there are 14 nationally listed buildings (some being groups of buildings such as 5 to 19 Buckingham Place) and one listed structure, as well as a number of locally listed ones. Alterations to the former almost always require listed building consent to be obtained, whilst local listing is of relevance only if planning permission is being sought in any case. These 15 nationally listed buildings include the Grade II* Brighton Station and a listed structure which is the railing which runs along the west side of Queen’s Road from Church Street to North Road. This railing, dating from about 1830, is what remains of Windsor Terrace, a thoroughfare which started at North Road and went south to join Air Street (where the Quadrant Pub stands today). In 1845 Windsor Terrace was extended north to link the railway station to North Street and Western Road and was then renamed Queen’s Road.


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