WINTER 2014 NEWSLETTER
Kemp Town Society
c/o 4 Sussex Square, Brighton, BN2 1FJ
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 7734051. Registered Charity No.1146155 www.kemptown‐society.org.uk
Feedback and Membership email correspondence to: email@example.com
THE FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF OUR PRINTED NEWSLETTER DELIVERED OR EMAILED TO MEMBERS EARLIER.
KTS is coming to the end of another very busy year. We have continued to encourage residents to join us in our endeavours to preserve our conservation area. We have worked extremely hard in the attempt to save our historic setting from unwelcome development schemes that continually face us. (see Jill’s article below)
We have held 10 fund raising events that have been appreciated and very much enjoyed by members, many saying they had a most enjoyable time. The spring 2015 Newsletter will give full and further details of next year’s calendar of fund raising events but just a reminder that the AGM will be held late April/early May and the next KTS Annual Garden Party will be held on Saturday 18 July (see Ann’s article below).
Having waved the flag the Committee sends you the season’s greetings and wish you a good New Year.
1. Conservation Report
I will deal with this generally and then under four main headings: CAG; Kemp Town Conservation Area; The Marina; and Black Rock.
To remind you all, every one of the buildings in our beautiful Estate is Grade I listed. This means that all building works, even internal works must be consented to by the Planning Department.
Conservation Departments of Brighton & Hove City Council before it is started. Anything that will alter the exterior appearance of the building will generally not be permitted and where repairs and replacements are necessary these must be done as nearly as practicably using the same materials and workmanship as was originally there. PVC windows are definitely out and double glazing is also usually not allowed, although secondary glazing should not be a problem. Internal alterations not affecting the structure of the buildings are usually allowed but original fire places (you should be so lucky!) etc., and structural walls and features must remain in place. I am therefore asking you all to keep an eye out for Planning Notices attached to lamp posts and railings within the Estate, and even more for what look like serious building works where there is no such notice, and make sure Derek or I am aware of them. A note through the door of 4 Sussex Square, giving the address, would be helpful when a new notice goes up or new works start.
The Conservation Advisory Group (CAG)
Planning Applications for properties within any Brighton Conservation Area (of which we are one) are referred to CAG which is attended by a representative from each of Brighton’s Conservation Societies. CAG meets every 2 or 3 weeks at Hove Town Hall. Financial pressure on the Council have lead to cut backs in all departments. In particular, the CAG representatives now have to prepare their own material relating to Planning Applications within each of their areas and each representative has to make a presentation to the CAG meeting, rather than, as used to happen, the Council Officers preparing the presentation. This has given rise to an immense amount of work for Derek DeYoung, our CAG representative, who has to constantly check the Planning Register, look at the applications and drawings and present to the CAG meeting whether we are in favour or against it. He must also form a view on major developments within the City and in other Conservation Areas.
Kemp Town Conservation Area
You will have noticed that the plinth on the Southern Boundary of the Enclosure is complete. Now for the railings. We are applying to various charities, so far without success. This quarter we have monitored various planning applications within the Estate, including internal alterations at the Language School (3 Sussex Square), which led to changes to the structural element of the works, but have mainly been taken up with 26 Lewes Crescent. Works to this long unoccupied house to restore it to its former glory as a whole house promised well, but problems have arisen latterly especially in relation to the Grade I listed rear wall. New applications relating to it are currently under consideration with CAG minded to recommend refusal of consent where original features may be at risk.
As you will all be aware Robert Powell has not been able to prevent the start of works in the Outer Harbour of the Marina, which will have such an adverse effect on the setting of our Grade I listed Estate. The Judge found against him at the Judicial Review hearing. The Application for leave to Appeal was rejected but he has leave to contest this rejection in an oral hearing which will take place on 9th December. If leave to appeal is granted we will be coming back to all of you on his behalf for more help with funding. In the meantime various amendments to the original 2006 planning application have been made and passed under S.73 as minor, and as such in the remit of officers without even the scrutiny of the Planning Committee. One such amendment moved the car park from above the Spending Beach to a largely below sea level car park east of the West Quay. In other S.73 amendments the roof-top solar panels have gone and the social housing element been much reduced. Most worryingly, although not directly affecting our Estate, the developers have realised that they cannot access this below sea level car park through their consented application entrance, so there is a new application to cut a 20 m wide hole in the six metre wide Tidal Flood Barrier below the high water mark. The Council’s own Strategic Flood Risk Assessment of March 2008 recommended raising this level. This S.73 amendment has been referred to the Planning Committee. The supporting document states there is no significance as the car park will be a dry area and their engineers report claims that any failure would only be a once in a hundred year event. We think once would be enough as virtually the whole Marina would flood, and surely replacing a 6 metre concrete barrier with a 0.5m car park wall is on any view unsafe?
The Revised City Plan zones Black Rock as a 7,000 sq.m. leisure and recreation area. It seems unlikely that 7,000 sq.m. can be built on that site without going above the cliff top. The original City Plan included a cliff top height restriction but the Inspector threatened to disallow the whole plan if it was retained, so we have an exhortation to respect the surrounding areas in its place. This is not promising, especially for Arundel Terrace, but is probably as far as B&HCC could go, without jeopardising the entire Plan. On Friday November 28th both the Argos and the Brighton and Hove Independent carried the announcement that the City have decided to demolish the Brighton Centre (good but not our concern) and build a 10,000 seat (twice the size) Conference and Events centre on Black Rock with ancillary restaurant and cafe use on the lower slopes. Here we go again! There is even talk of the high speed monorail again. The City is apparently in talks with Standard Life Group and a long way from concrete plans. Couple this with no extra parking allowed with any additional Inner Harbour Marina housing and the total lack of road space with only the dead end Madeira Drive and how they think they can get 10,000 people in and out in less than about 4 hours we cannot imagine. We do however welcome (low) cafes and restaurants on the lower slopes. Watch this space. Jill
Kemp Town Society Fund Raising Events 2015
After Christmas the days can seem a bit dark and dreary so perhaps another very popular Informal Lunch at Busby and Wilds will bring in a bit of brightness. Again the format will be arrival at 12 noon for 12.30 pm with a welcoming drink, 3 courses for £25 or £20 for 2 courses, with a lighter version available for those with a smaller appetite. The date being offered is FRIDAY 23 JANUARY. Please advise Joan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 01273 625130 if you would like to reserve a place. There are only 30 places available and the December lunch was completely booked with 10 days of the Newsletter!
As a number of KTS members are not keyholders to the Enclosures the suggestion has been made by your committee that a conducted tour of the gardens should be arranged in the late spring of 2015. We have had a positive response from the Chairman of KTE and will advise you further when the arrangement has been formalised. Joan
A very brief history of the Kemp Town Enclosures Railings
Now that the plinth has been completed along the sea facing side of the Enclosures in readiness for the new railings it seems a good opportunity to let our members and new residents have a very brief background of the railings from 1823.
Antony Dale, in his booklet The History of the Kemp Town Gardens, Brighton, states that Thomas Read Kemp, the original proprietor of the estate, had enclosed the gardens with iron railings at his own expense as early as 1823. He commissioned the local botanist and landscape gardener, Henry Phillips, to lay out the gardens, which at first consisted of three sections. The road separating the semi-circular garden of Lewes Crescent from the centre of Sussex Square was removed after the first committee meeting of the proprietors.
Whilst the 1914-18 war brought no physical alterations to the Gardens, in 1942 the newly constituted Ministry of Supply requisitioned for salvage all the railings that could not qualify as being of social historic interest because they were not prior to 1800. There then followed the lengthy business of obtaining compensation. Chain-link fencing was erected along Chichester Terrace in 1948, the temporary palings that were erected round the centre garden were gradually replaced in 1949. There was just one piece of the original iron railing remaining in Arundel Terrace since the Admiralty had made it an integral part of their defences! In 1957 The Brighton Corporation removed the railings and replaced it with a dwarf wall, posts and chains since it interfered with the view of traffic entering and leaving Arundel Rad. For a while the Corporation did maintain the lawns opposite Arundel and Chichester Terrace together with the strip of land along the southern edge of the centre garden, where they had erected the chain- link fence.
The Government later passed legislation in 1973 enabling grants to be made for the restoration of areas of “outstanding architectural or historic interest”. The Kemp Town estate had been so listed and that classification included the Gardens. Meetings with the then Department of the Environment established that a 50% grant could be made to replace those removed railings surrounding the gardens. The work was contracted to the Brighton Parks and Gardens Department and by 1975 the restoration was complete. Sadly, however, not in cast iron, hence their rapid deterioration.
Back in the 1980s the Arundel Terrace lawns and Chichester Terrace were completely open to the public and Stage One of restoration started with the erection of the nine pillars that were put in place at each end of the southern entrances to the Estate, followed by Stage Two, the railings, in the mid nineties. Residents donated toward the cost of both of these with the main finance coming from English Heritage and the local authorities.
By 2004 the condition of the railings were once again raised by the Enclosures Board and it was agreed that this was quite an involved subject. Therefore a representative of the B&H Council inspected the rotting southern railings and felt that the Authority would not object to the area which had been acquired by them in the fifties for road widening (which did not happen) being transferred back to the Kemp Town Enclosures. From 2005 the deterioration of the railings caused real concern with a surveyor’s report advising that hedges/foliage was not acceptable for the security of the gardens. Funding was made available from the sale of the Constable’s and Gardener’s cottages (at the end of the tunnel leading from the Gardens to the Slopes) to make it possible to start the restoration/painting work with the hoped for aim to see the retrieved area matching those of Chichester and Arundel Terraces.
At the 2014 Kemp Town Enclosures Annual General Meeting it was agreed that the Estate residents would be levied with an additional amount over the following three years to pay for the railings enclosing their gardens.
Any factual errors are my sole responsibility. Joan