Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Oct 19

Back to the Drawing Board in Terminus Road

Heritage officers have indicated that a planning application to alter the front of the ground floor of No.5 Terminus Road is so lacking in detail that it is impossible for them to properly judge its impact on the character of the conservation area and on the Grade II* listed Brighton Station opposite. The rather sketchy drawings incorporate a staircase to the basement (to provide a separate entrance), a new metal railing facing the pavement and a new bay window. The principle of altering this ground floor façade is considered potentially supportable, however. The existing bay window is unattractive and not original and would no doubt be improved by an appropriate sliding sash window and similarly appropriate cast iron railings, although the application merely refers to ‘metal railings’.

It is unfortunate that the shop fascia board is not to be removed as this is obviously a later and rather crude alteration probably carried out in the 20th century when the ground floor was converted from residential use to a shop. The original appearance of the house was no doubt similar to the listed No.12 just a few yards further up Terminus Road which has bow windows at both ground and first floor levels. No. 5 still retains it bow front on the first floor although the plastic fenestration is a regrettable feature.

HMO Allowed on Appeal

A Planning Inspector has quashed the Council’s enforcement notice against Bellerophon Capital Management Ltd which means that 54 West Hill Street can continue to be occupied as a house in multiple occupation by up to five people.

Over fifty local residents had objected, including a ward councillor. In refusing planning permission the Council had argued that the proposed layout represented an over-intensification of the site from a two bedroom house to a five bedroom HMO and that the limited circulation space, awkward layout and lack of practical communal space would represent a cramped and substandard level of accommodation, to the detriment of future occupants.  The Council also argued that it would significantly increase noise nuisance and other disturbance associated with five independent adults through increased comings and goings and over-intensification of the building. The Inspector, however, disagreed. This application does comply with the Council’s planning policy which limits the density of HMOs within 50 meters to below 10% of the dwellings in that area and was not, therefore, refused by the Council on that ground. It is interesting to note that an HMO licence has also been obtained by the management company in respect of No.54 and in many parts of the country planning permission to convert from a family dwelling to an HMO is not required in addition to this.

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