Tower block firm goes for Plan B

The Argus: The firm behind the tower block plan wants to develop a new scheme The firm behind the tower block plan wants to develop a new scheme

The developer that wanted to build a skyscraper next to Brighton station is refusing to give up on plans for a huge block on the site.

New plans for a huge hotel and residential development are being drawn up after moves to build a 42-storey block on the land were rejected by a Government minister last week.

The Beetham Organisation has decided to come up with a new project for the area next to Brighton station, where it had hoped to build the 400ft tower.

Proposals for the skyscraper, with 146 flats, a public rooftop garden, hotel and pedestrianised square, have faced fierce opposition from residents and councillors.

And campaigners were delighted last week when the Government drove the final nail into the coffin of the project.

But Hugh Frost, chairman of the Beetham Organisation, said the group now intended to work in close collaboration with Brighton and Hove City Council and come up with another option.

Mr Frost said: "We are reviewing the incisive comments made in the inspector's report to the secretary of state as a result of the public inquiry.

"We remain committed to delivering an exciting building to house a first-class hotel and apartments, incorporating a public square, landscaping and the provision of a link to the station, which will be a tremendous enhancement to New England Square.

"The site is concealed behind a nondescript Eighties building and the Victorian railway station and therefore it is important the hotel design delivers a building with a sense of presence.

"We are confident we can produce a new plan for the site that will satisfy both Brighton and Hove City Council and the local community."

City council planners rejected the scheme in 2005, which was pencilled in for the New England Quarter, next to Brighton train station.

The decision was appealed but last week Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Ruth Kelly backed the council's assessment of the project.

Ms Kelly agreed with the city council that the tower would have had a detrimental impact on the surrounding area and would have been alien to Brighton.

She added that the tower would not provide any additional regeneration benefits over and above those in the previously agreed masterplan for the area.

The multimillion-pound redevelopment of the 24-acre New England quarter includes 355 homes, a new station car park, a Sainsbury's supermarket, 5,265 square metres of office space and two hotels.

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