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Do gems in Brighton and Hove make the grade for list?
Brighton and Hove has more than 3,000 listed buildings which are protected for future generations. But what about the many properties and structures which do not quite make the English Heritage grade? TIM RIDGWAY looks at the 20-year review currently underway to protect some of the city’s quirkier architectural gems.
Standing tall in one of Brighton’s most famous streets, the Co-op building has dominated the streetscape of London Road since the 1930s.
With its elegant façade, it is seen by many locals as a key landmark; a cornerstone in the community.
But two years ago, developers threatened to tear down the building and replace it with 400 student flats.
It was after public uproar and inclusion on Brighton and Hove City Council’s local list that the plans were rejected and the building saved.
Developers have since come back with a revised scheme which will see the front of the former department store preserved for future years.
Council chiefs claim the Co-op is an example of what can happen when important, but not necessarily historically prestigious, buildings are designated.
They are now inviting residents, from conservationists to schoolchildren, to send it suggestions of buildings and areas which it can include on its local list.
So what is it?
According to the Encyclopaedia of Brighton, there are more than 3,000 listed buildings in the city.
This is administered by English Heritage.
But, for those valued by communities but not deemed quite up scratch by the national body, Brighton and Hove City Council can place them on its local list.
The reasons can vary from someone famous living there to the architectural interest.
Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee, said: “Although inclusion on the list does not afford the protection of full listing, it means the importance of a locally listed building or garden will be considered as part of any future planning proposals.
“So it is useful in helping to conserve the city’s historic environment.”
David Robson, of the Regency Society, said for some it was seen as a “stepping stone” towards being fully listed.
Dr Robson said: “Generally speaking there is a 50-year rule where they do not get listed.
“This is a way to get some sort of kudos.”
Dr Robson said he was currently drawing up a list of potential buildings which could be included on the local list.
He added he was keen to get more 20th Century buildings recognised, such as the Jubilee Library or the row of shops on the north side of Western Road, which includes McDonalds.
He claims these are an “important part of the townscapes”.
One of his more controversial suggestions is Brighton Square, a 1960s development behind Hannington’s department store in North Road, Brighton, which is the focus of redevelopment plans in the coming years.
The lists for Brighton and Hove have not been updated since the 1990s – before the towns merged.
Conservationists are agreed that Hove Borough Council did a better job of drawing up the list while Brighton’s was described as “tawdry”.
The 160 items on there include telephone boxes, lamp posts and former police stations.
Selma Montford, of the Brighton Society, believes there is greater scope for more inclusions.
Among her suggestions are pubs, such as those in the Hanover area, which are “often corner buildings that provide landmarks at the end of the streets”.
She added there were streets, such as Lauriston Road in Preston Village, which were special as they were designed as entire roads.
Ms Montford said: “People involved in conservation, townscape and what the city looks like will be interested.
“Maybe this will open some people’s eyes and they will look in the areas at places they do not want to lose.”
The city council’s economic development committee decided last September the list should be reviewed.
Hove MP Mike Weatherley said: “I do like the idea of a wider consultation on this list as many aren’t even aware of its existence.
“I particularly love the old stable roads that are scattered around Hove and would say that they are the country’s finest.
“As such, my vote would go to Namrick Mews, Cambridge Grove and Wilbury Grove getting the recognition that they deserve.”
Local lists were last drawn up in the 1990s before the creation of the city Brighton and Hove.
Among the 160 items on there include:
- The Village Barn and Church Barn, Church Hill, Patcham
- St Richards flats, Church Road, Portslade. Mid 1930s two-and-half storey building designed by Denman and Son. The council said: “Cottagey and jazzy at the same time, a building of class and character.”
- School in Connaught Road, Hove. Formerly part of Brighton Technical College is now an infants school. The council said: “A fine, turn-of-the century, large, gabled brick and terracotta edifice. A good example of the type.”
- Co-op building, London Road, Brighton
- Former Carpenters Arms pub (now Molly Malones), West Street, Brighton
- The Windlesham Club, Davigdor Road, Hove. Dating from 1907, the council said: “It has community history value.”
- Easthill House, Easthill Park, Portslade. A two-storey house built in 1848, now used as a nursery school. The council said: “Much altered, especially around the ground floor, its scale and position as a large house set high in its grounds, recall a prosperous stage in the community’s development.”
- Former music library, 115-116 Church Street, Brighton
- Foredown Tower, Foredown Road, Portslade. Formerly the water tower to the Foredown Isolation Hospital, it was disused in the 1960s before being converted to a visitor centre. The council said: “A valuable industrial relic.”
- Wick Hall, Furze Hill, Hove. Built in 1936, it is a seven-storey apartment block. The council said: “A well-respected local landmark.”
- Telephone kiosks in Furze Hill and Grand Avenue, Hove. The council said: “Important contribution to the streetscape.”
- The Green, Rottingdean
- Synagogue in Holland Road, Hove. A large two-storey stuccoed building, by Edward Lewis, 1938. The council said: “An idiosyncratic building of considerable character, and community interest.”
- Seafront railings in King’s Esplanade, Hove. The council said: “With a St Andrews cross motif with shield in each panel, these railings make a dignified contribution to the seafront environment.”
- Lamp posts in Landsdowne Square, Palmeira Square and St Aubyns
- Ole Ole Tapas Bar in Meeting House Lane, Brighton
- The Amsterdam hotel, 12 Marine Parade, Brighton
- Tidy Street, Brighton
- Neptune pub, Victoria Terrace, Hove. The council said: “Of interest for the sign and for its contribution to the ‘fishing village’ atmosphere of the locality.”
How to get involved
Nominations for the local list are open from Monday until April 28.
Once nominations are in, council conservation officers will create a draft list which will go out for a second public consultation.
A final decision on which buildings to include will be made by the council’s cross-party economic development and culture committee later in the year.
For more details visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/local-list or call .
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