A TOWN planner who saved North Laine from the bulldozers now has a permanent memorial in the area he preserved.

A blue plaque for Ken Fines was unveiled last week on the wall of Infinity Foods in North Road, Brighton.

Mr Fines saved and named the North Laine area when it was threatened with redevelopment into a flyover stretching from Preston Circus down to a large car park off of North Street and high-rise housing in the late 1960s.

His daughter Susan Fines, who was joined by her sister Julie Bull and nephew Daniel Smith at the unveiling, said it was “emotional and overwhelming” to see the plaque unveiled.

The 60-year-old said her father considered the saving of the North Laine as the highlight of his career, which saw him serve as the borough planning officer for almost a decade.

In 1976 the council agreed to make the North Laine a conservation area. Even after his retirement in 1983, Mr Fines continued to play a key role in conserving Brighton and Hove’s heritage founding the Heritage Over Vandalism Actually group in opposition to plans to redevelop the King Alfred.

Mrs Fines moved back to Hove in 2005 to care for her father at their home in Northease Drive where the family had lived since it was built in 1952.

She reverted by deed poll from her married name of Mrs Barnbrook to Mrs Fines in his memory after his death in 2008 aged 85. Mrs Fines, who paid the £1,100 blue plaque fee herself, was inspired after reading an old article from The Argus in 2008 when the council considered a blue plaque but nothing came of it.

Mrs Fines said: “I am so proud that dad had the foresight to see what was there and what it could become. He showed courage to stand up to the people proposing the flyover and I think part of that was because he was local. He was born and bred in Hove and his dad was an electrician on the Palace Pier.

“I wanted this plaque so that even when we are all gone people would know why the North Laine is like it is now.”

Averil Older, chairwoman of the city’s commemorative plaque panel, said: “They wanted to knock down the little cottages, I wouldn’t use the words slum although that’s how they were looked at, and build a flyover and high rises.”

Former Argus reporter Adam Trimingham said that Mr Fines’ work in creating the North Laine conservation area led to the creation of the “lovely, lively district”, which would have “withered and died” without him.