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.
This led locals to believe the process was seriously flawed. The
Council administration are so determined to rail-road this development in
their hunger for the substantial sum of money they will get from selling
the site with planning permission, that serious local objections to the
way the Planning Committee handled the application would not be allowed
to stand in their way.
Local residents and organisations engaged specialist lawyers who studied
the pod-cast of the meeting and the accompanying minutes and officer
reports. The lawyers concluded the decision was unlawful and detailed
their findings on six pages of failures. They formally advised the
Council that the first vote to refuse planning permission should be
upheld as the only lawful decision the committee took. Alternatively
the application should be sent back to the planning committee to be
dealt with properly. The lawyers’ findings cited case law and other
Sadly, the Council’s officers refuse to accept the wrong doing and their
lawyer merely brushes over many of the failings and unlawful procedures
set out in the residents’ lawyer’s letter.
Residents’ lawyers have demonstrated how the Council could and should
lawfully refer the application back to the Planning Committee to
consider it properly in an open and transparent manner with all parties
and interest groups being able to have their say.
Only a lack of political will amongst the Council’s Green administration
prevents this – their protestations that they cannot intervene are wrong
We therefore urge you to contact your local councillor and the Council
Leader, Jason Kitcat, to lobby for the return of the hotel application
back to the planning committee so it can be determined properly as this
would be the correct, legitimate, and only lawful and honourable action
Jason Kitcat’s email is: Jason.Kitcat@brighton-hove.gov.uk