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Business chiefs call for bold thinking on Brighton and Hove’s draft city plan
Business chiefs call for bold thinking on Brighton and Hove’s draft city plan BHEP director says city has everything going for it ‘except space’ Business leaders have called for a council to take a bold and radical approach to planning over the next 20 years. The Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) has submitted its response to Brighton and Hove’s draft City Plan. The plan sets out the council’s strategic and spatial vision for the city. The first city plan was withdrawn in May 2010.
Tony Mernagh, executive director at the BHEP, said the plan attempts the impossible task of providing sufficient space for offices, homes, schools, parks, gardens, roads and infrastructure in a city that has everything going for it except space.
He said: “The plan must balance economic growth in a time of unprecedented austerity with sustainability at a time of unprecedented danger for the planet and cater for a local population that has increased by 25,000 people over the past decade and shows no sign of slowing down. “Under these circumstances the city council’s planning officers have done a tremendous job in putting together a superior document involving hundreds of hours of consultation with stakeholders including two separate workshops with the Economic Partnership in November 2011 and April 2012.”
Ed Allison Wright, director at property developer the Centurion Group, based in Brighton Square, said: “The City Plan needs to be aspirational and bold in order for our geographically constrained but prosperous Brighton and Hove to win the investment we deserve as a ‘creative city’.
“Our goals are highly aspirational but readily achievable and this point needs to be portrayed in the forthcoming City Plan.
“We fully support the majority of the plan, with revision required in relation to urban fringe, and timescales for meeting demand. In relation to central seafront, it is vital to encourage regeneration in the area immediately surrounding the proposed i360, through both revised infrastructure planning and through surrounding commercial uses.
“Central Brighton must have joined-up thinking with Brighton Station Gateway and infrastructure initiatives such as the old town traffic flow proposals which helps to encourage festivals, cultural, community activities.”
Brighton and Hove is restricted in the amount of land available for housing development as it has the sea on one side and the South Downs National Park on the other.
A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “What is different about the City Plan, compared with the first version of the core strategy, is that the council has carried out a full examination of projected housing need for the city and commissioned the Local Housing Requirements Study which showed a full requirement for the city of 16,000 to 19,000 homes. “From the projection of housing needs our preferred option is to set a local housing target for the city of 11,300 new homes to 2030. That includes the development of potentially 700 homes on Toads Hole Valley. The allocation of this site is important in helping us to put forward a sound plan to the Planning Inspector. “By identifying sites to deliver housing for the first ten years of the plan, the council has demonstrated how it will meet the demand for homes and is working with other councils on helping to meet the shortfall. Looking at the viability of development has led to a number of changes to the Plan and will help to ensure the proposals are more deliverable and realistic.” The final version of the plan will be published early in 2013 and go for examination by the Planning Inspectorate in September 2013 for adoption in January 2014.
What the BHEP supports
The inclusion of Toads Hole Valley as a development site
Compromising on employment sites by allowing mixed-use schemes to enable sites to be developed in the difficult economic climate
Purpose-built student accommodation to safeguard the strength of the workforce and the contribution of our two universities
The sliding scale for affordable housing provision The aspiration for more One Planet Living developments
Questions to be asked
Should Black Rock still be allocated for a major leisure use now that the arena has failed to come forward?
Is it realistic to expect Code 5 housing on the gasworks site?
Is the expectation for office space at Hove Station reasonable?
Is the King Alfred site the best place for a sports centre?
Is the local definition of sustainable development in excess of that demanded?
Apart from the expansion of Churchill Square, do we really need more small shops?