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

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

French Church remains Unlisted

The culture secretary has turned down the MCHA’s attempt to list the French protestant church listed. The church is in the city’s Regency Square conservation area, tucked away behind the seafront in a mews that partly serves the adjacent Metropole Hotel. The church closed in 2008 and is now a private house.

We asked English Heritage to list the building largely because of its cultural significance. But the culture secretary ruled that its architecture wasn’t good enough to be worth listing. The association decided not to appeal against this ruling. It is notoriously difficult to get Victorian buildings listed. Continue reading

Work Stops at Mitre House

Killby and Gayford the construction company hired to convert the northern block of Mitre House into a hotel have gone bust.

Construction work on Mitre House stopped in April, barely a month after it started. Killby and Gayford was one of the biggest construction firms in the country and carried out the renovation of Downing Street in 2008. The company is now in the hands of the administrators. Continue reading

Object now to plans for high-rise hotel on Ice Rink site

FRESH plans to build a high-rise hotel on the old ice rink site in Queen Square have been submitted by developers Stonehurst Estates. However, the plans show little change from those that the same developer submitted last year. The MCHA has renewed its objections to this high-rise horror.

The previous plans for a six-storey hotel were withdrawn at the end of January, just days before they were due to be considered by the planning committee. More than 200 people objected had objected to these plans. Continue reading