Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Aug 19

Eco Centre fails again

The Ethical Property Company’s latest attempt to place an inappropriate advertising sign in the conservation area and opposite the Grade II* Brighton Station has again been thwarted by the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission. Planning officers criticised both the size and materials of the sign proposed. It does beggar belief that having failed to place the so-called ‘Green Giant Sign’ on the same wall (a sign measuring some five and a half by four metres) it then proposes a sign made of solid polyethylene encased in aluminium! So much for using biodegradable materials! The ecologycentre.org website explains that: “Manufacturing PET resin generates more toxic emissions (nickel, ethylbenzene, ethylene oxide, benzene) than manufacturing glass. Producing a 16 oz. PET bottle generates more than 100 times the toxic emissions to air and water than making the same size bottle out of glass.”

Another HMO for West Hill

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is one in which three or more tenants live as more than one household and share the same kitchen, toilet or bathroom. In some local authority areas a licence is only required if the number of tenants sharing is five or more but in Brighton, Hove and Portslade if the property has two or more storeys and just three or more tenants sharing, a licence is also required. Planning permission may be required before applying for a licence if the house has previously been occupied as a family home.  Whilst an appeal against the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for an HMO at 54 West Hill Street is still ongoing, another application has been submitted for a terraced house at 83 Centurion Road to be converted from a family dwelling to a (small) HMO. ‘Small HMO’ in this case means no more than four tenants sharing.

66 Buckingham Road

A further planning application has been submitted (the fifth in three years) for this property located next to Bright News. A previous application was granted to alter the roof and make internal alterations. This current one enlarges the lower ground floor flat and converts the upper floor from one maisonette (used as an HMO) to two units which would comprise a studio and a one bed unit. These proposals also include a three storey rear extension. The roof extension will, however, be to the same design as that for which permission was granted and so the view from the street will be as already approved. No. 66, although not listed, is nevertheless of some historic interest as it was built in the early to mid-19th century and therefore pre-dates the other houses in Buckingham Road. The shop front at ground floor level is not original, the first use being most likely purely residential. It became the Buckingham Arms public house probably sometime around the 1870s and then retail premises in the early 20th century.

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