2014 AGM Chairman’s Report with specific contributions from the Committee
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT AND OVERVIEW OF 2013
The latter part of last year saw a number of influences which will impact how Heritage will be regarded in the coming years within Central and local government. Certainly, it will be challenging – even to consider the possible impact. It is important that our Society be informed of such changes, as it greatly impacts on policy decisions taken by Council and the legal framework which underpins planning decisions.
a) The new National Planning Policy Framework (2013) This document replaced the current planning document and reduces the size from over 1000 pages to 50. With respect to Heritage, these are key sections to note.
12. “Conserving and enhancing the historic environment”
129. “Local planning authorities should identify and assess the particular significance of any heritage asset that may be affected by a proposal (including the development affecting the setting of a heritage asset) taking account of the available evidence and any necessary expertise. They should take this assessment into account when considering the impact of a proposal on a heritage asset, to avoid or minimise conflict between the heritage asset’s conservation and any aspect of the proposal”
b) 2013 – BHCC’s Strategy for the Conservation of Brighton and Hove’s historic environment. (Chichester Terrace the photo was used for the front cover). A new Strategy will be produced for this year. The original Strategy (2003) was intended to clarify the council’s responsibilities and reaffirm its commitment toward the conservation of the city’s historic environment, including a programme of action and a set of priorities for the future management of our heritage. This is intended to assess changes from comments on the new strategy.
c) The City was subject to an independent Inspector’s report of the City Plan. (See separate comment). It underscored the greater need for BHCC to meet Housing targets.
The Kemp Town Enclosure Railings Project
Many will see the progress, which has limped along in rebuilding the plinth along Marine Parade. The slow progress has been due to the financial bankruptcy of the contractor. A replacement is being sought. A significant amount remains to be completed. There will be a requirement to meet a funding shortfall relating to the overall cost of the railings.
Judicial Review of The Brighton Marina development
The opening months of 2014 has seen the challenge to The Brighton Marina Company (Brunswick) and associated companies, and the Marine Management Office by Robert Powell in a Judicial Review of the consents granted to them. KTS is part of the association of residents supporting this action. The claim challenges the legality of the consents as well as the processes of decisions in such consents. It is a bold decision given that the work is currently underway. We will notify Members of the progress.
Who’s Been Living in My House
Vanessa Minns is co-ordinating the write up of the history of the occupants of all the houses on the Estate. This is a significantly challenging undertaking. In due course, it will bring to life the real history of those who occupied our Estate from its beginnings.
It is with considerable regret that the Committee has no alternative but to announce that, unless a new sub-committee can be formed from our members, the 2014 Garden Party will not be held. The time committed by your Trustees to meet the challenges of the various projects detailed in our report, allows no time for the essential leadership and many organisational tasks to be contemplated. Not least, the physical work of erecting and dismantling the marquees on the weekend itself now needs younger members to volunteer. In the event that sufficient members come forward and sub-committee is formed, it is anticipated that this long standing event would be held in September.
SECRETARY’S REPORT ON CONSERVATION AND PLANNING
CONSERVATION – Your Committee has been stretched this year as cuts to Brighton Council’s spending has led to a reduction in the number of Conservation Officers by more than half. The remaining Conservation Officer has little time for what is not considered to be of overriding importance so much more work falls on all the Local Conservation Societies to identify planning applications (or lack of them) that might be a problem and try to get action taken.
MARINA – Throughout the year KTS has been an active member of the Marina Action Group (MAG) and has joined in its various campaigns to lobby the Council against the greatest threat to the Kemp Town Estate – the Outer Harbour (Brunswick) Development granted Planning Permission for tall towers which will adversely affect our setting in 2006 and much amended, not for the better. We have made representations to the Council through the Marine Action Group, and directly supported a deputation to the Council and lobbied the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO) about the illegality of proposed development under the Brighton Marina Act 1968 (BMA); the safety dangers of reducing the Outer Harbour; and the threats to wildlife. All our many points on these matters have been swept aside by the Council, the MMO and the Developers. Recently we have been concentrating on the possibility of a Judicial Review based on the BMA breaches and have been important to the MAG in raising funds to apply. Robert Powell has stepped forward as Claimant and the proceedings were issued on 20th March, the Defendants summary grounds of defence are due 1st April and our response to these are due 4th April. The application has “Urgent” status. I will be able to update you on the status of the application at the Annual General meeting. We are seeking a protected costs order under the Aarhus convention. We will be seeking funding to take the action forward and I would be grateful if those of you prepared to contribute, however little, would let me know by note through the door at 4 Sussex square or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CITY PLAN – Again our main objection to this is the adverse effect on the setting of the Kemp Town Estate posed by the Council proposal for 1,940 additional residential units (including the existing 882 given permission in the Outer harbour) in the Marina which can only be achieved by building above the cliff height. The additional traffic and pressure on other local facilities (medical facilities, schools etc) as well as the impossibility of providing open space for such numbers within the Marina are also of concern.
The City Council have been required to provide 20,000 new homes by 2020. The City Plan as drafted respects the height restrictions of the Brighton Marina. However, the City Council received a report from a central government appointed inspector advising the City Council to waive the height restrictions on the Marina. It is not known whether the City Plan as finalised will accept the inspector’s recommendation. It is believed it will be finalised by July.
HOSPITAL – The Macmillan Information and Support Centre is due to Complete in March 2015. The main 3T Hospital Development is still awaiting confirmation of Treasury Funding. The Hospital Liaison Group has been led to believe talks are positive.
26 LEWES CRESCENT – This property has been bought and is to be sympathetically restored. We understand it will remain a whole house. The modern addition in the rear garden will be removed.
BLACK ROCK - As far as we are aware no further proposals have been put forward for this. It is presently being used as a materials Yard for the Outer Harbour Development.
GENERAL - KTS has continued to monitor Planning Applications affecting the Estate and its surroundings. Where necessary representations have been made.
CONSERVATION ADVISORY GROUP – Update from KTS CAG Representation
A major concern for the future: The adoption of the City Plan following the report of the Planning Inspector to the City Council on 13th December 2013 recommending that the Council should waive the height restrictions in the future development of the Marina. I raised KTS’S concern at a CAG meeting at which the Head of Planning strategy then attended. He said that no decision had then been taken on the future develop-ment of the Marina. The City Council have been given a target to provide 20,000 new homes by 2020
There have been developments outside our Conservation Area, on which we have raised our concern as having an impact, The development of the garage at 53/54 Church Street,, where the development had been carried out in contravention of the planning permission conditions.
There have also been developments within our conservation area which did not come before CAG.
14, Sussex square: 26 Lewes Crescent. As our properties are Grade 1 Listed, the City Council planners will only resist any applications within our estate which affect the frontage of our Grade I Buildings.
It has been a busy year of CAG dealing with developments affecting the City Centre on which KTS have made a contribution:
Brighton Square/North street: The former ice rink at Queens Road : the Brighton Hippodrome: the Circus Street Development: The City College development: The Royal Pavilion as a World heritage site.
Derek De Young
WHO’S BEEN LIVING IN MY HOUSE
The research for the creation of the new pages on our website has been continuing through the winter. This involves checking street directories, census reports, rate reports, minute books and all sorts for the names of the confirmed occupants of each house since its first occupation. To make the web pages we need one record for each flat/house from 1823 to 1970 and 10 more in the census years. So the completed research will have involved our extremely small team inputting over 38 thousand records by the time the job is complete.
Thank you so much to Keith and Jayne Paulin, Nickie Swaden, Andrew Lansdown and Simon Smith for your massive work on this project. We have also received a lot of help from Sue Berry and Nick Tyson who have both been enthusiastically supportive.
We have now virtually completed Lewes Crescent and over half of Sussex Square; some of Arundel and Chichester Terraces has been done but others remain. Anyone who can use Excel and would like to help will be welcomed by the team – it is not difficult work but fairly arduous and totally fascinating.
We are hoping very shortly to hand in the first parts of our research for transformation into web pages accessible from our website. Once up and running, members should be able to look up properties at the click of a mouse and see who has lived there since the house was built. And we have had some fascinating residents on the Estate.