Tag Archives: HMO

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’. Continue reading Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Oct 19

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.” Continue reading Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Aug 19

Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Oct 18

Fingers burnt in Surrey Street

The developer who has replaced all the timber sash windows to the front of 43 Surrey Street with plastic (see June/July issue of The Whistler ) has learned a very expensive lesson. He failed to apply for planning permission in the first instance, but then when Council officers caught up with him, his retrospective application was refused as the loss of timber sash windows was considered unacceptable in a Conservation Area. Continue reading Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch, Oct 18

West Hill Watch

Jim Gowan’s West Hill Watch

Bedsits or family house?

An application to convert a family house in Clifton Street into a house in multiple accommodation (HMO) has been made to the City Council. In the St Peter’s and North Laine ward (within which the West Hill conservation area is situated)  planning permission and an HMO licence are required where a property of more than one storey is let to three or more people who do not form a single household. In order to support mixed and balanced communities across the city new applications for HMOs will not be permitted where more than 10% of dwellings within a 50 metre radius are already licensed HMOs. From the information supplied here it seems this restriction does not apply. Local residents are often not happy when family houses become HMOs, as it can change the character of a neighbourhood when families move out and (usually) groups of students move in. Some parts of the city have become saturated with HMOs and it is likely that the West Hill area will be under increasing pressure as a consequence of having, at present, relatively few HMOs.

Another Licence for Rented Homes

The Council wants to impose a licensing scheme on all private landlords in 12 wards of the city. The licence would cost up to £600 per property and apply even if the property is let to a family or individual. So this is a different licence to the HMO licence referred to above. The Council has said that this is not merely a money-making scheme and simply aims to raise standards. It recognises that a number of landlords already deliver good quality, well-managed homes, but says it could not exempt them from the scheme. It must be hoped that this scheme does not lead to fewer family homes and to more holiday lets and ‘party houses’ as the latter will remain unlicensed.

Green Giant Slain

A proposal to fix a huge advertising sign on a building facing the Grade 2* listed Brighton Station has been refused by planning officers after it was severely criticised by the Council’s Conservation Advisory Group as being too big and too ugly and inappropriate for the conservation area. The green lettering, measuring some five and a half metres across and four metres in height was described as “dot matrix type font-dots are a vignette of different shades of green”.



West Hill Watch

Jim Gowans’ West Hill Watch…

Explosions at 26a West Hill Road

Explosions were heard from the former Pickett Garage site on Good Friday and an emergency team from UK Power Networks was called out to deal with exposed electricity cables. According to UK PN the cables had not been correctly capped off when demolition took place a few months ago. The seriousness of the situation was compounded by the site developer’s failure to properly secure the site after demolition was carried out without the authority of the City Council. Over 140 nearby homes were without electricity for several hours. Continue reading West Hill Watch