Circus Street developers defend plans after criticism from conservationists

Circus Street

Circus Street

First published in News by

Developers behind a £100 million development have described their plan as “what the city needs” after fierce criticism from conservationists.

The Regency and Brighton societies have raised concerns about the proposals for the major redevelopment of Circus Street in Brighton.

The renovation of the former wholesale market will see flats for more than 140 people, accommodation for almost 500 students as well as office space, a library, a four-storey dance studio and teaching space for the University of Brighton.


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Developers Cathedral Group claim the site will bring more than £200 million into the city and create 600 jobs if given the go ahead by the city council’s planning committee within the upcoming months.

But two figures from the city’s two leading conservation groups argue the density of people living on a site “no bigger than a football pitch” is far higher than advisable, labelling the development as “21st century slums”.

While agreeing the site is in desperate need of renovation, they have also raised concerns about how much natural light will get into flats and open spaces.

They are calling on Cathedral Group, who instead describe the development as “beautifully designed”, to remove the office block from the development to allow more light into the site and open up the public spaces.

Brighton Society honorary secretary Selma Montford said the irony was the Circus Street site was cleared of slum housing in the 1930s because of overcrowding for homes which she claims had a lower density than the new project.

She said: “The open spaces are so narrow, they are really just alleys.”

David Robson of the Regency Society added: “These are the slum sites we thought we thought we had got rid of after World War I, what we would have called back-to-backs.

“We can’t sit back and allow standards to slip in that way.

“Such is the demand for housing in the city that whatever the imperfections, these flats will sell or will be let.”

Martyn Evans, creative director of Cathedral Group, said the density of the site had been reduced following consultation with the public last year and “exactly the right density to create a very pleasant environment”.

He said the current site was” rundown, ugly” and the majority of residents wanted to see the area radically altered.

Mr Evans added: “We have created high quality public amenity spaces at ground floor level, with space to enjoy café culture, performance and other entertainment, which will be inviting and engaging and has been adjusted deliberately to follow the historical street grain of the area.

“This design is appropriate, rigorously tested, in the right location and recreates street patterns that existed here before the huge municipal market was built in the middle of it.”

Comments (10)

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7:21am Sat 22 Mar 14

mimseycal says...

"He said the current site was” rundown, ugly” and the majority of residents wanted to see the area radically altered."

No argument there. But it wasn't that long ago that it was at least a working 'rundown, ugly' site. Is it my scepticism or are developers becoming more reliant on time to force through plans that would otherwise never be given the time of day?
"He said the current site was” rundown, ugly” and the majority of residents wanted to see the area radically altered." No argument there. But it wasn't that long ago that it was at least a working 'rundown, ugly' site. Is it my scepticism or are developers becoming more reliant on time to force through plans that would otherwise never be given the time of day? mimseycal
  • Score: 21

9:35am Sat 22 Mar 14

s&k says...

Students are not the only people who need housing in this city! What are BHCC playing at?
Students are not the only people who need housing in this city! What are BHCC playing at? s&k
  • Score: 19

12:18pm Sat 22 Mar 14

rolivan says...

The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton.
The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton. rolivan
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Valerie Paynter says...

For David Robson to come out in this way is serious. He would normally defend a development as progress, as too many in charge of the Regency Society now do. If David Robson is jumping on it. The council should take heed.
For David Robson to come out in this way is serious. He would normally defend a development as progress, as too many in charge of the Regency Society now do. If David Robson is jumping on it. The council should take heed. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Valerie Paynter says...

rolivan wrote:
The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton.
Anston House is currently the subject of a planning application to convert it from office use to flats. Bigger windows, installation of balconies and the building to be clad in a blackish stuff. The cladding is not right and should be objected to.
[quote][p][bold]rolivan[/bold] wrote: The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton.[/p][/quote]Anston House is currently the subject of a planning application to convert it from office use to flats. Bigger windows, installation of balconies and the building to be clad in a blackish stuff. The cladding is not right and should be objected to. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Fight_Back says...

Valerie Paynter wrote:
rolivan wrote:
The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton.
Anston House is currently the subject of a planning application to convert it from office use to flats. Bigger windows, installation of balconies and the building to be clad in a blackish stuff. The cladding is not right and should be objected to.
And we're STILL looking at the current eyesore exactly BECAUSE of the Regency Society who want nothing built in this city.
[quote][p][bold]Valerie Paynter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rolivan[/bold] wrote: The Regency Brighton Society and all of the other Groups that supposedly have the Cities interests at Heart should spend more time worrying about the constant demolition of Buildings of real Historic Interest..The City is now a significant Centre of Study and the more Buldings being built to accomodate Students is a good thing allowing for areas like Hanover to revert to Family use.I cannot understand why Anston House cannot be developed for more Student accomodaton.[/p][/quote]Anston House is currently the subject of a planning application to convert it from office use to flats. Bigger windows, installation of balconies and the building to be clad in a blackish stuff. The cladding is not right and should be objected to.[/p][/quote]And we're STILL looking at the current eyesore exactly BECAUSE of the Regency Society who want nothing built in this city. Fight_Back
  • Score: 1

6:26pm Sat 22 Mar 14

rayellerton says...

Over the years the density of housing has risen to the point where the existing infrastructure cannot cope....how many more rabbit hutches will they try cram in ?
Over the years the density of housing has risen to the point where the existing infrastructure cannot cope....how many more rabbit hutches will they try cram in ? rayellerton
  • Score: 7

4:37pm Sun 23 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

rayellerton wrote:
Over the years the density of housing has risen to the point where the existing infrastructure cannot cope....how many more rabbit hutches will they try cram in ?
I agree we have too many rabbit hutches,lots sud-standard with little or no sunlight and no sound insulation.Things wont change as the rent for a rabbit studio in B&H is what you would pay for a three bed house further north.Whatever accommodation is build they should have balconies,also we need to get housing for the 10000+ on the housing waiting list not more student flats where greedy landlords are just after quick cash.
[quote][p][bold]rayellerton[/bold] wrote: Over the years the density of housing has risen to the point where the existing infrastructure cannot cope....how many more rabbit hutches will they try cram in ?[/p][/quote]I agree we have too many rabbit hutches,lots sud-standard with little or no sunlight and no sound insulation.Things wont change as the rent for a rabbit studio in B&H is what you would pay for a three bed house further north.Whatever accommodation is build they should have balconies,also we need to get housing for the 10000+ on the housing waiting list not more student flats where greedy landlords are just after quick cash. clubrob6
  • Score: 3

4:57pm Sun 23 Mar 14

clubrob6 says...

This site should be used for affordable housing,with people born and bred in Brighton and Hove given priority,the local connection rule which is relatively new of two years is not fair to the genuine local population.There should be a high rise block built of one to three bed appartments all with balconies,no more studio flats.There is no need for a library there are plenty nearby.Perhaps a doctors surgery on the ground floor.The only reason developers want 500 students there is because they can make more rent out of the rabbit hutch studio flats,we have a massive need for affordable homes for people born and bred in B&H.
This site should be used for affordable housing,with people born and bred in Brighton and Hove given priority,the local connection rule which is relatively new of two years is not fair to the genuine local population.There should be a high rise block built of one to three bed appartments all with balconies,no more studio flats.There is no need for a library there are plenty nearby.Perhaps a doctors surgery on the ground floor.The only reason developers want 500 students there is because they can make more rent out of the rabbit hutch studio flats,we have a massive need for affordable homes for people born and bred in B&H. clubrob6
  • Score: 4

8:37am Wed 26 Mar 14

rogerthefish says...

clubrob6 wrote:
This site should be used for affordable housing,with people born and bred in Brighton and Hove given priority,the local connection rule which is relatively new of two years is not fair to the genuine local population.There should be a high rise block built of one to three bed appartments all with balconies,no more studio flats.There is no need for a library there are plenty nearby.Perhaps a doctors surgery on the ground floor.The only reason developers want 500 students there is because they can make more rent out of the rabbit hutch studio flats,we have a massive need for affordable homes for people born and bred in B&H.
Have to agree this is all about big business who can charge £120 a week per bedroom, could you imagine a local family mum dad and two kids paying
£360 a week or £18,000 a year plus £2,000 council tax + utilities food clothes etc. you would need to earn £60k just to survive.
[quote][p][bold]clubrob6[/bold] wrote: This site should be used for affordable housing,with people born and bred in Brighton and Hove given priority,the local connection rule which is relatively new of two years is not fair to the genuine local population.There should be a high rise block built of one to three bed appartments all with balconies,no more studio flats.There is no need for a library there are plenty nearby.Perhaps a doctors surgery on the ground floor.The only reason developers want 500 students there is because they can make more rent out of the rabbit hutch studio flats,we have a massive need for affordable homes for people born and bred in B&H.[/p][/quote]Have to agree this is all about big business who can charge £120 a week per bedroom, could you imagine a local family mum dad and two kids paying £360 a week or £18,000 a year plus £2,000 council tax + utilities food clothes etc. you would need to earn £60k just to survive. rogerthefish
  • Score: 0

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