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Music venue neighbours call for ‘political’ rejection of office plans – Brighton and Hove News

Music venue neighbours call for ‘political’ rejection of office plans – Brighton and Hove News

The owner of land next to a Brighton music venue is appealing the council’s refusal to grant him plans 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 plans, mainly on the grounds that it could generate noise complaints from the Prince Albert Hotel, the neighbouring hotel.

Planning committee members rejected the proposal on the grounds that the applicant had not demonstrated that it would have an impact on the pub, that its design and size were characteristic of the area and that the size would be overbearing.

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

Before the appeal was lodged in May, alternative plans for Beak Brewery to use the existing building as a street food 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 ‘intended to grant’ but unfortunately, due to the number of objections, the application had to be determined at the planning committee, where the recommendation was overturned.

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

“The previous sensible reasons for approval should then be rephrased into reasons for refusal. Reason 1 asks for demonstration that the commercial (Class E) use would not be detrimental to the Prince Albert pub, when the original application provided for a mixed-use scheme of commercial below and residential above, but this residential element was requested to be removed by planners.

“And then they argue that fully commercial use is ‘harmful.’ It seems like you can’t win, either way.

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

“It appears that in this case fully commercial use is not detrimental, serving a maximum of 250 customers, 230 of whom will be seated from Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 11:30pm.

“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 make representations to the planning inspectorate.

It said: “The more representations that are made in support of the original refusal decision, the stronger our case will be, so please take the time to do this. We are and will be eternally grateful.”

It also suggests reasons for people to object, including the impact on the Grade II listed pub, the visual amenity of the conservation area and the impact on neighbouring amenities.

Daniel Tapper, of Beak Brewery, said: “According to the landlords, they are still interested in leasing the building to us regardless of whether they are successful in their appeal or not.

“We are currently negotiating the lease with them as the building needs a lot more renovation work than anticipated, but we are hopeful we can reach an agreement.”