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Flats bid on historic site is rejected
4:00pm Thursday 4th December 2008 in News
Controversial plans to demolish a landmark Victorian building and replace it with 150 flats have been thrown out by councillors.
People in the public gallery cheered as Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee rejected proposals for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital site in Dyke Road, Brighton.
A second planning application to demolish the current buildings, including the landmark former hospital, was also overwhelmingly refused.
At a meeting at Hove Town Hall yesterday councillors rejected the proposals, with nine voting against, three abstaining and none supporting the plans.
Councillors said they wanted the developer, Taylor Wimpey, to look further into the possibility of retaining the hospital building as part of any new development.
Councillor Paul Steedman said: “Some applications leave me lost for words and this is one of them. There are a cacophony of reasons why we should reject this one.”
After the meeting, Roger Amerena, the chairman of the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association, said: “This is very good news. We expect the developers to go to appeal, which will give us an even greater opportunity to put our case for the retention of at least some of the original buildings across.”
Officers had recommended both applications be approved, saying the updated Taylor Wimpey development would make good use of the land and the design was appropriate for a conservation area.
The scheme includes 149 flats, a GP surgery and pharmacy, 66 basement parking spaces and 222 cycle parking spaces.
Heloise Brown, of The Victorian Society, said: “We are delighted councillors have voted to prevent this wonderful hospital building from being demolished.
“It is an important part of the history of Brighton and a great asset to the character of the town. This wonderful landmark also enhances the historic conservation area in which it stands.”
The council received 99 letters objecting to the scheme.
Almost 150 people had written in support of plans to relocate the Montpelier Surgery, currently in Victoria Road, to the Royal Alex site.
A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision.
“The officer’s recommendation had been to support our plans, which were the result of two years’ hard work in consultation with the council.”
Do you agree with the councillors' decision? What should happen to the old Royal Alex hospital site? Tell us below.