Concert venue neighbours appeal ‘political’ rejection of office plans – Brighton and Hove News

The owner of a site next to a Brighton concert venue has appealed against the city council’s refusal to build offices there, claiming the refusal was politically motivated.

Patricia Camping’s plans to demolish the former Thrifty Care Hire building and build a four-storey office block with a shop or cafe on the ground floor were rejected by councillors last November.

More than a thousand people opposed the project, mainly on the grounds that it could lead to noise complaints from neighbouring Prince Albert.

Planning committee members rejected it on the grounds that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that it would have an impact on the pub, that its design and size were in keeping with the area and that its size would be overwhelming.

Ms Camping has now appealed the decision, and a government planning inspector will now decide whether the plans can go ahead.

Before the appeal was lodged in May, alternative plans for Beak Brewery to use the existing building as a street market were approved by councillors in April.

The brewery says its plans are not affected by the appeal.

The appeal, written by planning officer Nathan Mooncie, says: “As stated in the officer’s report, the application was ‘close to being granted’ but unfortunately, due to the number of objections, the application had to be determined by the planning committee, where the recommendation was overturned.

“Unfortunately, planning becomes political when it gets to the planning committee and is taken out of the hands of planners and is no longer about ‘good design’ or even ‘planning policy’.

“The previous reasonable grounds for approval must then be recast as grounds for refusal. The first ground requires a showing that the commercial use (Class E) would not be detrimental to the Prince Albert pub, whereas the original application envisaged a mixed use pattern of shops below and dwellings above, but this residential element was requested by the planners to be removed.

“And then they argue that purely commercial use is ‘harmful.’ It seems like you can’t win one way or the other.

A recent consent for commercial use has just been granted on the same site for a change of use from a car rental centre (sui generis) to a street food market (sui generis) with revised fenestration and associated external alterations.

“It appears that in this case, the fully commercial use does not prejudice the service of a maximum of 250 customers, of which 230 will be seated from Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“Surely this sui generis use is the same as commercial use (class E – shops, offices, cafes, restaurants)?”

Prince Albert today asked his social media followers to take steps with the urban planning inspectorate.

He said: “The more representations we can make in support of the initial refusal decision, the stronger our case will be. So please take the time to do so. We will be eternally grateful.”

It also suggests reasons why people might object, including the impact on the Grade II listed pub, the visual amenity of the conservation area and the impact on nearby amenities.

Daniel Tapper of Beak Brewery said: “According to the owners, they are still keen to lease the building to us whether or not they are successful in their appeal.

“We are currently negotiating the lease with them because the building requires much more renovation work than expected, but we hope to be able to reach an agreement.”