Planners throw out Brighton and Hove Albion hotel

Planners have thrown out a hotel scheme put forward by Brighton and Hove Albion in the grounds of the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer.

One councillor dismissed the design as “mediocre” when the plans went before the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee at Portslade Town hall today (Wednesday 17 February).

The decision was made on the casting vote of Councillor Julie Cattell, who chairs the Planning Committee.

It followed an application by Albion Sports and Leisure, a subsidiary of the football club, to build a hotel with 150 bedrooms. The scheme included a restaurant, bar, gym, meeting room, lounge, garden area, 62 car parking spaces and a cancer treatment centre.

Albion Sports and Leisure director Martin Perry, who stood for Labour in the local elections last May, said: “The whole of the basement will be a cancer treatment centre. It is likely the treatment centre will be private, although publicly funded.”

Albion hotel plan

Mr Perry, the former chief executive of the football club and the man credited with creating the Amex Stadium, said: “The site is very constrained. It is a triangle constrained by the football stadium, the railway and the (Bennett’s Field) car park. We do not own that car park. We have considered the objections.”

A report recommended that councillors refuse planning permission because of the design, closeness to the stadium (14 metres) and the inappropriate architectural impact on Stanmer Park.

Councillor Maggie Barradell, a Labour member, said: “The design is mediocre … This has not been a good application.”

Councillor Adrian Morris, a fellow Labour member, said: “There are huge economic benefits. The Albion do a lot for the city but we cannot treat them any differently.

“I have to agree with the officer’s recommendation about design. We need the development but it is what standard of design that we need to achieve.

Martin Perry

Martin Perry

“The loss of 156 car parking spaces is a big issue. There could have been a softer design. I am sure the applicant will come back with something better.”

Another Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn said: “I do find the building very stark, very utilitarian. It does not fit in with the stadium. I think it is a great pity the applicant did not soften the plans. It is a great idea to have a hotel there but it does have to be of quality.”

Councillor Pete West raised environmental concerns. He said: “We do have a stadium and it does have architectural merit. The visual impact is important and the national park that surrounds this site.

“Stanmer Park does have views of the site. Stanmer Park is listed. We must not overlook this. The game has been raised since Stanmer Park has been set up. A hotel is not inappropriate in itself and the Amex is a huge success. But we do not need to compromise on the design.”

Speaking in support of the development Councillor Carol Theobald, a Conservative, said: “The building has a nice curve. I regret the loss of car parking. 156 spaces is rather a lot. I do see there are only two objections.

“There will be 82 jobs which is a benefit to local jobs and the local economy, football players who do come to the Amex stadium and even parents of students.”

Councillor Cattell said: “I don’t think the design is like the Amex which is spectacular. We need to separate the design from the applicant. I don’t like the message this sends out to other developers that designs that are mediocre are ok.”

Mr Perry said: “Which is better, a hotel or tarmac?”

Given the no vote, the committee appears to believe that the tarmac is more appealing for now.

This article was first published in Brighton and Hove News on Wednesday 17 February. You can read the same article here.

Float Spa Wins Best of Brighton Star Business Award 2016

By Roz Scott

The Float Spa won the Best of Brighton “Star Business Awards” because it is a leading centre for health and wellbeing.

The spa has state of the art flotation pods, complementary therapies, yoga and meditation classes. It is based on Third Avenue in central Hove between Church Road and Hove Lawns and the seafront.

Camille Pierson, managing director of the spa, said: “At the Float Spa we pride ourselves on good customer service, and being part of the Best of Brighton awards has enabled us to gain valuable feedback from our treasured clients.

“Coming first in the Brighton and Hove area within our first year of business is a huge achievement for us. It was great to be part of the competition. Bring on next year!”

The Float Spa supplies everything needed for the flotation visit, including complementary towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and earplugs, as well as a vanity room equipped with hairdryers.

Customers enjoy a free home-made sorbet and herbal tea in the relaxation area to refresh and rejuvenate afterwards. The flotation experience lasts 90 minutes.

The Fairy Tale Fair was voted second in the Best of Brighton awards. It is run by Claire Montgomery. She said: “As a Best of Brighton and Hove member we were excited to take part in the business awards.

“Gaining stallholder and customer reviews is an important part of our business as our fair relies on a good reputation to get customers through the door and new stallholders taking part.

“We’re amazed so many of our fans took the time to vote for us and leave their wonderful reviews. To come second out of all the businesses in Brighton and Hove and first in the UK for markets and events is a huge achievement for our local fair and hopefully will help us to build on our achievements during 2016.”

The Fairy Tale Fair was voted the third best community event in Sussex 2015 in the Argus Community Star Awards and the fairs have gained “recommended by parents” status on Kallikids Sussex since summer 2015.

The next Fairy Tale Fair will be an Easter fair held at Patcham Methodist Church on Saturday 5 March and the Patcham Easter gift guide 2016 is available online.

There are quality crafts designed and produced in Brighton and Hove in abundance. Face painting, charity raffles and a tearoom with homemade cakes provide a fun, family-friendly day out.

In third place BBZ Brighton in Air Street, Brighton, is a fitness shop selling training equipment including for yoga, gyms and martial arts, clothing, accessories and dietary supplements. They also offer friendly, expert advice about dieting and workouts.

The Float Spa was voted best star business by Best of Brighton customers with 157 verified votes, followed by the Fairy Tale Fair with 83 votes and BBZ Fitness shop was highly commended in third place securing 42 verified votes from customers.

The customer votes or reviews for the Best of Brighton Business Awards 2016 were counted from 1 March 2015 and businesses needed at least 12 verified reviews to qualify by the last day of December 2015.

The campaign kicked off in earnest at the beginning of January this year. Businesses competed to collect as many additional reviews as possible in a month until Sunday (31 January) when the votes were counted.

You can read the same article first published on Brighton and Hove News website here.

Brighton and Hove residents say: “Stop the public sector cuts”

Brighton residents marched on a bitter January day to express their outrage about cuts to local government services.

They are angry that Brighton and Hove City Council has been told to make £68 million of cuts across the city.

One of the protesters, Pat Childerhouse, said: “I am concerned about young people with mental health problems who are pumped up with drugs and just left there, alone, in insecure housing. It is terrible.”

Care centres for the disabled, including the mentally ill and elderly, children’s centres, special schools and children with special educational needs all continue to be under threat.

Margaret Hallan joined the march because her mother had dementia and there was simply not enough mental health services to support her when she became unwell.

A GMB Union representative and Sussex Defend the NHS activist who works in the NHS marched in protest at a council tax rise of 4 per cent. He said: “It is the lowest paid who pay the highest price for the misdeeds of the upper classes and the rich.

“Democracy is government of the people by the people for the people. We have a government of the rich by the rich for the rich.

“The NHS is being broken up and destroyed by stealth.”

Allison Hooper marched in protest at the cuts because when she became mentally ill, she had to go to another area to get an in-patient bed in a psychiatric hospital.

She said disabled people were now forced to go to job club for help with their job search, sometimes on a daily basis, after a capacity assessment at the benefits contractor Atos. This prevented them doing voluntary work.

When Allison subsequently hurt her leg, she waited 24 hours before getting a bed at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

A protester called Ree led Love Activist Brighton protesters carrying banners saying: “Homelessness is not a crime.” And “Everybody has the right to housing”.

A homeless man was wearing a sweatshirt made in memory of his friend KC who died on the streets over Christmas. The shortage of housing in Brighton and Hove is acute but Ree and her team are campaigning to get the council leader Warren Morgan to prioritise people with no home and to stop criminalising homeless people.

This article was first published in Brighton and Hove News: read the full article here.