Hove residents hear case for 950 new homes, offices and even a school near Hove Station

Scores of Hove residents met to view the next stage of plans and find innovative solutions to some of the most intractable problems facing developers when regenerating Hove Station and the surrounding area.

Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum held the meeting yesterday (Sunday 3 July.)

As a strategic development area, there are conditions set by Brighton and Hove City Council in the City Plan. These include the goal of a mixed-use development with residential units and office space. The aim is to attract investment and new employment opportunities into the area.

Planning proposals include building several mid-rise blocks of flats to act as a focal point and identifier in Conway Street near the Clarendon Road flats. A pedestrian area may be created around Ellen Street and Conway Street if planning permission is granted.

Fonthill Road may close to ease congestion. No decision has been taken yet. Early discussions are under way about the possibility of building a school at the postal sorting office site in Denmark Villas.

The City Plan says the neighbourhood plans must provide a minimum of 525 residential units and at least 22,000 square metres of office space which is an extra 12,000 square metres.

There are currently three major projects on the table:

  • Hove Station area: The factory on the corner of Goldstone Lane is about to be demolished by Hyde Group which will build 65 new homes by August 2018.
  • Hove Gardens: Matsim will apply for planning permission soon to build 190 homes alongside retail and office space at Conway Street and create a Hove Station Quarter.
  • Sackville Gardens: Mountpark will apply for permission to build 600 to 700 new homes and office space from 2017 onwards on the Sackville Trading Estate and coalyard site which it is calling Sackville Gardens – also and separately the name of a road leading to Hove seafront.
Proposed high rise on corner of Conway Street and Ellen St near Hove Station

Valerie Paynter, from Save Hove, who campaigned against a high-rise development on the old Sackville Hotel site on Hove seafront, said: “The area south of Hove Station is excellent for development near the Clarendon flats because there is no overshadowing.”

A Hove resident who does not wish to be named said: “Last year there was a lot of high-value properties built which attracted commuters, not local residents.”

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Valerie Paynter from Save Hove

Niall O’Hea, from Shakespeare Road, in Poet’s Corner, said: “Since the referendum people are more interested. You can have a say in your future. Lots of stuff is getting passed. There is apathy. Planning seems very complicated because it happens behind closed doors. It is difficult to get information but the referendum has woken people up.

“I had the challenge of getting trees in the street. You have to canvass. People can object. They have good processes to stop things. It is very hard to create things. One person can stop a process. Sometimes the benefit is of the greater good as opposed to your opinion.”

Many concerns were raised at the meeting about transport, traffic congestion which may result from closing Fonthill Road, parking and the need for accessible, functioning footbridges that are compliant with disability legislation.

Retired professor of urban planning and Hove resident Mike Gibson said that the forum would convene a separate subgroup on transport. This will feed into a statutory transport assessment produced by the council.

The forum provides Hove residents and businesses with a legal framework to influence the large-scale regeneration of the area, known as Development Area 6 in the City Plan, and they are developing a neighbourhood plan.

Mr Gibson, head of planning at London South Bank University, said: “Planning can be a fragmented process. The neighbourhood plan is to join it all up. Everyone in the area votes at the end of five years. The forum enables residents to get the ear of developers before they put in a planning application. We also want to anticipate and the big issue is: how does it all fit together, especially in Conway Street and around the railway?”

Residents from Ellen Street, Conway Street, Goldstone Lane, the Fonthill Road area and Poet’s Corner were all invited to have their say at the forum.

Over time, developers will aim to improve the Conway Street area, Hove Newtown, the Goldstone Lane area and Sackville Road trading estate up to Old Shoreham Road. The waste management centre at the coal yard may be de-designated to join up the development. Full regeneration of the whole area is expected to take 10 to 15 years if the plans go ahead.

Contact Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum or Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Department for further information.

This article was first published in Brighton and Hove News.