Ice Rink Site

Wykeham Terrace adjacent to the Ice Rink site

Lawyers have sent two letters to the Council on behalf of residents and local groups following the Council’s granting of planning permission for the tall six storey hotel on the site of the former ice rink on the southern boundary of the churchyard.

For those not already aware, the Planning Committee was branded by the press as a ‘shambles’ with members confused; the first vote to refuse permission being retaken once campaigners had left, officers misdirecting members during the voting and underplaying important information in the officer report and presentation.

The officer report and presentation made no mention of the churchyard being an important local park and relied on the developer’s view that the need to chop back important ancient elm trees was of little significance. All of which sets a very dangerous precedent for both future Brighton & Hove applications and national planning policy. Continue reading

Radical art

Carol Jacobi, one of Tate Britain’s senior curators and an expert on the pre-Raphaelite movement, is giving a talk at St Michael’s on Saturday 6th October. Ms Jacobi was one of the organisers of Tate Britain’s latest exhibition Pre-Raphaelites-Victorian Avant-Garde, which opened in London in September.

The talk is part of the Friends of St Michael’s continuing fund-raising efforts. The Friends are raising money to carry out urgently needed work to stabilise the stained glass windows which are one of the glories of our only Grade-1 listed building.

The lecture is at 3.00pm on Saturday 6th October. Admission is £10 and includes tea and cake.

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Seven Dials Improvement

The City Council has set aside £550,000 to be spent over the next three years on the Seven Dials roundabout and the roads nearby. The main purpose of this spending is to reduce the number of road accidents. Improvements to the appearance of the roundabout seem to be incidental to the project which is being managed by a transport planner although an urban design officer also attended the first consultation meeting held in St Luke’s church on the 20th August.

It must be hoped that some of this money will be made available to enhance the visual appearance of this busy and cosmopolitan part of the city.

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Seven Dials consultation

The council is holding a consultation with local organisations over its plans to reduce the number of accidents at the Seven Dials roundabout.

Carol Dyhouse, who is committee member, is representing the MCHA’s interests. One of our key concerns is not to see an increase in traffic on Dyke Road the eastern border of the conservation area and the road that runs past the Royal Alexandra Quarter development.

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The MCHA extends its area

THE MCHA has expanded its area to include the medieval church of St Nicholas and its churchyard after members at the Annual General Meeting voted unanimously to adopt a new constitution.

The MCHA’s 41st Annual General Meeting was held on a blustery night at St Michael’s to the accompaniment of rattling stained glass windows. Members voted unanimously to approve the new constitution, by 30 votes to nil. There were no abstentions.

The new constitution is based on the Charity Commission’s model constitution for charities of our size and it replaces the old constitution, which dates from the days before there was even a conservation area. Continue reading

Hotel plans narrowly approved

Wykeham Terrace

The council narrowly approved plans to build a high-rise hotel on the old ice rink site in Queen Square after a confusing planning committee meeting, in which councillors first voted to reject the plan and then reversed their decision.

The council’s planners had recommended approving the plan, despite more than 140 objections from individuals and all the main representative local groups, largely because of its impact on Wykeham Terrace, St Nicholas and its churchyard.

The first vote was tied five-all and the hotel plans were rejected on the chairman’s casting vote by 6 votes to 5. But councillors could not then agree the reasons why they wanted to reject the plan. So the committee had a second vote and this time decided to approve the plans by 7 votes to 5, apparently because two councillors who had abstained first time round decided to change their votes and support the plan.

Planners set to approve ice rink plans

Plans to build a controversial high-rise hotel on the old ice-rink site in Queen Square have been recommended for approval by the council’s planners. (Ed: This is an archived story: see later stories above.)

The MCHA has consistently opposed this plan because of its impact on St Nick’s, the churchyard and Wykeham Terrace. All of these buildings are listed. The MCHA says the hotel is too high and too large.

The hotel will largely obscure the Queen Square office building in the picture above. The plans also make nonsense of the council’s tall buildings policy, which says that this site is unsuitable for a six-storey building.

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AGM reminder

The Annual General Meeting of the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association will be held at 7pm  on Thursday 21st June in the church of St Michael and All Angels, St Michael’s Place, Brighton. It will be followed by a talk on “The story of the Sussex pub” by the noted local historian Janet Pennington.

The main item on the AGM agenda is to approve a new constitution for the MCHA. This constitution is based on the Charity Commission’s model constitution. All members have been sent a summary of the changes. You can find more details about the changes by clicking here. And you can download the constitution here MCHA CONSTITUTION 2012 (Proposed). You can also obtain a paper copy of the proposed constitution by contacting the chairman, Jim Gowans, on 01273-325185. A limited number of copies will be available at the AGM, prior to the start, but be warned: the proposed constitution runs to 18 pages so it will take some time to read. Continue reading

Work on converting the Royal Alex continues apace

The conversion of the main Lainson building continues apace and the scaffolding that has surrounded the building for nearly three years is now starting to come down. The Lainson building, which dates from 1880, is the focal point of the new Royal Alexandra Quarter. Taylor Wimpey is now advertising flats for sale in the converted building and prospective buyers can make an appointment to see a show flat. The first owners should be able to move in next year.

Demolition work finished on the Royal Alex site at the end of February 2011. The Victorian villa, and the other turn-of-the-century buildings were all been reduced to rubble and removed.

A temporary marketing suite has now been built on the junction of Clifton Hill and Dyke Road with two show flats. Most of the flats in the blocks that form the first phase of the development have now been sold.

Taylor Wimpey has dubbed the new development the Royal Alexandra Quarter as part of its marketing strategy. Taylor Wimpey plans to name the new blocks after the old

hospital wards. The main building will be called the Lainson Building, after Thomas Lainson the local architect who designed it.

Steep Decline in Estate Agents’ Boards

Three estate agents have been fined £1,000 each for putting up boards in defiance of the council’s ban on estate agents’ boards. The council banned all new “for sale”, “sold” and “to let” boards on residential properties on 20th September 2010.

Mishon Welte and Priors were both fined at Brighton magistrates court on 24th March. Cubitt and West were fined £1,000 for another rogue board in May.

The number of boards in the Montpelier and Clifton Hill conservation area has plummeted since Brighton and Hove City Council banned “for sale” boards last year. Continue reading