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Brighton's "ugliest building" set to stay
Brighton's "ugliest building" could remain for years to come – thanks to developers using a new planning law.
The Anston House site in Preston Road, voted the ugliest building in Sussex by Argus readers, has been derelict for nearly 25 years.
But the boarded-up building’s future could be about to change as developer Investec has submitted an application to convert the nine-storey block into 44 flats.
Thanks to new Government policy, this means the proposal does not have to be decided by a cross-party panel of councillors.
It comes four months after Brighton and Hove City Council rejected a plan to demolish the tower and replace it with about 230 homes and 2,000sqm of office space.
‘An outcry’ Selma Montford, of the Brighton Society, said: “So much for the developers wanting to talk to us before submitting a new proposal.”
Ms Montford added: “I’m not opposed to converting office to residential, it depends on where they are.
“Preston Road is not a good place for offices as you can see from the empty blocks down there.
“There will be outcry in the town as everybody says it is the ugliest building in Sussex. I suppose they could make it look better though.”
The application has been made under a new government policy which came into force on May 31 and makes it easier for developers to convert offices into homes.
At the time, communities secretary Eric Pickles, said the change gave a “clear signal… that we want underused and outdated offices to be brought back to life, and provides an excellent opportunity to create much-needed new homes”.
According to the notice submitted to the council, there will be no external alterations or works to the building.
The only way the local authority could reject the proposal is on transport and highways, flooding or contamination grounds.
But a letter from Nick Green, of planning agent Savills, said there was “very low risk of significant” contamination at the site and, while it is in a flood zone, there were no risks.
He added there were good public transport links so the proposal would not impact on the wider area.
A proposal to create five buildings of between seven and 15 storeys on the site was rejected by the council’s planning committee earlier this year.
This was after locals expressed fears the proposal would cause over-shadowing of Preston Park opposite.
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