Seven Dials elm saved

elm IMG_4268THE majestic elm tree that has graced Vernon Terrace for 130 years is to stay after the council’s transport committee agreed to make minor changes to the Seven Dials improvement scheme at its meeting on 30 April.

The future of the elm tree was not included in the original consultation on the Seven Dials’ improvement scheme. But in January the council’s transport committee approved a plan for the improving the junction that included felling the 130-year old elm. Most local residents, and at least some of the councillors on the transport committee, were unaware that the scheme affected the elm.

Most local residents only found out about the plan to chop the elm when the council distributed a schedule of works towards the end of February. Continue reading

Spring Meeting

We invite you to the Spring Meeting of the Association which will be held at 7:00 pm on Friday 8th March in the Wagner Vicarage Temple Gardens, by kind permission of Brighton and Hove High School. Dr Sue Berry will give an illustrated talk “Amon and Amon Henry Wilds of Lewes and Brighton: the work of two surveyor-architects in the city 1817 to 1850”

Seven Dials consultation

The council is holding a public meeting on 17th December to discuss the results of the consultation on its plans for changing the traffic flow at the Seven Dials.

The main feature of the £500,000-plan is to increase the size of the central roundabout, so that there is only one lane of traffic. Currently, the small central roundabout allows two or more vehicles to take the roundabout side by side.

The council also plans to remove the guard rails that corral pedestrians and to replace the pelican crossings, with zebra crossings. The most controversial feature of one option is to close Vernon Terrace to north bound traffic, which would inevitably divert traffic onto neighbouring routes, such as Windlesham Gardens and Clifton Road.

The meeting is being held on Monday 17th December at St Luke’s Church, Old Shoreham Rd. It starts at 7pm and is due to close at 8.30pm. “If you have an interest in the project I would strongly encourage you to attend,” says Robin Reed the council’s traffic engineer in charge of the scheme.

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.

Continue reading