London Road Area LAT meeting – by Zoom, Tuesday 8 September 18:30

Present: Philip Wells, Sandy Crowhurst, Suresh & wife Madhavi , Catherine Clement – minutes, Judi & Peter Lynn,

James Creevy (McLaren Property), David Atherton (McLaren Property),

Simon Bannister (Council engagement officer),

Sachin Shad (PR for McLaren Property),

Adrian Hill, Fr Ben Eadon (St Bartholomew’s Church),

Daniel Taylor (planning consultant for McLaren Property),

Andy Roberts (Stanley Road) , Lucy Dunleavy (Stanley Road), Robert Rosenthal (chair of Southdown Rd residents association) , Emily on behalf of Lucy Jefferies (Open Market),

Michael Ford (Morgan Carn, architect of McLaren Properties scheme),

Natasha Innocent (Rosehill Terrace),

Chris Nixon (representative for 17 Preston Rd licensing application,

Katy & Sharon (PCSOs),

(23)

Agenda:

1. Welcome, apologies and introductions

Apologies from Corinne and Andy Keeffe (University of Brighton) who is willing to answer issues raised re students.

2. Minutes of last meeting, date of next meeting

No corrections, minutes agreed. Assume that next meeting – 13th October – will be by Zoom unless you hear otherwise.

3. Policing update

PCSOs were not aware of any particular issues from patrols although some problems with homeless in Ann St, linking with St Mungo’s regarding this. Nothing recent reported from Stanley Rd. Valley Gardens is part of their normal patrol – new graffiti on bins noticed.

Judi Lynn has concerns about speed of reply to reports, communications. She saw graffiti being done, reported by telephone but got ‘we’re closed’ message (may have been calling Lucy Egerton’s mobile, she’s on annual leave). Sharon said she should have called 999 as a crime in progress. Judi said when she called about drug use under her window (Providence Place) it did not bring a response. Sharon said this would not have been a priority (not a crime to be a drug user, only to be in possession). Philip said he would intervene and would communicate with the inspector about this. **PW to ask Inspector for comments

Robert Rosenthal messaged everyone asking whether police (or Council, or developers) could install more extensive CCTV; it acts as a deterrent apart from possibly catching people. Sharon said this would be a money problem for the police, including resources to pay someone to be watching the video feed. David Atherton said they could think about it for their development and lobby for this to be made a priority. Simon Bannister said there was some CCTV in London Rd – some at south end, some at Preston Circus. Philip said it had been a long and painful process to install this at the Level.

Various members of the McLaren team said they’d already been liaising with Police as part of design process (Mel Westbourne is liaison officer at Lewes – Secure by Design service – also consulted as part of planning application process). ‘Designing out Crime’ – probably London Rd has a number of inherent problems resulting from old designs. Public should feel safe at all times of day thanks to good design. Questions were asked as to whether there was a liaison with people who know the particular local issues.

Suresh said they have late night and early morning noise – at front (London Rd) and back (Elder Place) from loading, unloading and bin lorries – plus building noise from Longley site. Philip said we should be able to follow this up as Building works should be subject to constraints of noise and working time.

Katy said only four reports had been received since 1 July – not community related. Philip thanked Sharon and Katy for their work before they left meeting.

4. MAIN ITEM – Planning Presentation – 5 to 8 London Road

Michale Ford of Morgan Carn Architects: slide shown highlighting relevant site (from London Rd to St Peter’s St behind). Many interesting or listed buildings in area. Also some problem buildings following 60s development. This building has problems, is degrading. The rear is higher than front – just loading at back – graffiti – no shop windows etc – problems due to this.

They have walked streets to get a feel for it, which are good areas, which not. Good ‘pocket park’ in front of St Bart’s – they would like to add to this with street trees etc – important to design urban realm well to add to area. The new design has the London Rd frontage glazed but back frontage sunk into semi-basement area, bins, bike storage etc, with student entrance to accommodation above on first floor. Whole building height no higher than existing build to preserve views – slightly higher at back, highest in SW corner. Two large courtyards and roof terrace within scheme. Landscaping designed by Turkington Martin.

Front elevation picks up on clues from existing building (which has been disfigured over time) – with use of brick and stone although materials not confirmed. At rear design needs to be ‘quiet’ so as not to compete with St Bart’s although some elements refer to it. Hope that this will age well. Simple palette of colour and features – hope some of it will discourage anti-social behaviour (eg textured brick pattern discourages graffiti). Council planning dept have encouraged them to reduce height; the previous scheme is now superseded. Showed views from south, showing how scheme relates to City College (GBMet).

Retail element facing London Rd – currently three units, but could be one, two or three. Loading comes from rear (as insisted upon by Planning). Police design liaison officer, highways, planning – all aspects considered – he encouraged looking at application, details in ‘Design and access statement’. Building should be well integrated into area and not be a burden to local people.

James Creedy (for McLaren) took questions and gave answers. Adrian Hill asked about air quality, currently at high if not illegal levels – food deliveries, buses, taxis leading to congestion and pollution – James said from a student perspective their well-being was a priority. Adrian said nitrous oxide was impossible to filter out – David Atherton offered to put someone in touch with him as this was touching on technical matters.

Peter Lynn appreciated presentation, Judi agreed, looks forward to improvements to area which they overlook. Fr Eadon agreed.

Sandy asked re age group of students and where from? University prefers first years to be in their own accommodation, so this scheme will probably house second-, third-year and post-graduate students – not aimed at wealthy international students – most likely to be UK students. Sandy asked re cost – difficult say right now as will not open until c 2024 – they tend to price competitively within the area – will depend upon market at time. Occupants could attend either University, or be a student somewhere else in Brighton. Would not be allowed to bring cars – car use not catered for in the development – could take action against them under terms of lease.

Questions were asked about the accommodation – en-suite bathrooms? Yes – also desk space, fast internet speed, fully-fitted kitchens. More equipment in bigger units.

David Atherton assured the meeting that they are ensconced in community and need to liaise with community during planning and construction phases. Philip said that the (former) Co-op building was planned with all sorts of green elements but they were dropped during construction – will that happen with this? David Atherton: they are committed to the BREEAM ‘excellent’ standard (a sustainability assessment).

Philip asked about noise from external terraces – restrictions will be incorporated into use of building – terraces closed at an agreed time during evening.

Sachin asked for further questions after the meeting; he will make sure they get answered. He would really like to hear from people who like the scheme as Councils usually only hear from objectors.

Philip said the LAT had put a lot of work into Providence Place Gardens (the ‘pocket park’ mentioned above) – he thinks this looks somewhat like that, promising. He also commended the architect for being sensitive to the aspirations of the Providence Place Gardens project.

Catherine Clement mentioned (as an example of something once thought promising) the long-term vacant building at corner of Providence Place. Judi and Peter corrected her – only the ground floor is vacant. They live in that block, beautifully designed but badly executed. They believe that the commercial premises may now be let to an orthodontist and work to fit out is due to start soon.

5. Licensing

– The application for the former Maplin as a “Co-op convenience store” was refused. Note: this does not affect the main Co-op outlet which will be rebuilt on the old site 119 London Road. A licence has already been granted for that site.

– Application for former “International Food and Wines” – 17 Preston Road

Chris Nixon (speaking for the applicant) said that he understands that long-standing relationships are important and doesn’t want to jeopardise these. His company deals with licensing all sorts of premises. This one still in pre-consultation, drafting, for sale of alcohol by retail (not on-site consumption). He is aware of the previous licence holder and revocation of that licence. This person is not part of this application and will not be part of it. His client, who owns the building previously ran the premises but moved over to Lewes Rd – the most recent licensee is not this person. He is aware that London Rd is a Special Stress Area but Preston Rd is outside it. He wants to open productive and ongoing dialogue – needs input from local community and start communication. Philip has invited the client to join LAT – he will feed this back to him.

Philip asked for comments. Robert Rosenthal said there are plenty of good retailers already – do we need another alcohol outlet? What is the benefit to community? Chris said his client wants to run a convenience store (a benefit to the community) and feels that alcohol is part of this.

Judi said there are so many outlets, and so many consequent problems – vomit, urine, comatose people. Chris replied that ‘this is exactly why we’re here’; he agrees that street drinking is a problem, but what they can bring is liaison with Police and with community. They want to be part of the community. CCTV is a standard condition of licensing – can also cover external spaces – could help tackle the problems.

Philip said this raised a lot of issues. It is just outside the Special Stress Area – so technically ‘do we need another one’ is answered – but someone said that the SSA might be extended up to Stanford Ave. It was also suggested that we should identify already-licenced premises that may be causing problems, ask for licences to be reviewed. Chris said that of course premises that do not uphold the aims of the licencing policy should be reviewed.

Simon Bannister mentioned the ‘Sensible on Strength’ campaign (restricting sale of super-strength cider and lagers) and asked whether Chris was aware? Yes – he is offering a dialogue, would be happy for his contact details to be forwarded – Chris@knighttraining.co.uk

6. London Road Area Development – including Longley Estates

Emails had been received from Council Planner Alan Buck and Deborah May, Council Planning Department. They would both like the LAT to be involved. Agreed, we’d be delighted.

7. Any other updates

a. Cycling – none

b. Level – none

c. Neighbourhood action plan (NAP) – none

d. Open Market (none)

e. Ongoing consultations and information

Letter from Jim Whitelegg to be circulated – although time will quickly run out

8. Any other business

Fr Eadon said he is available to residents, not just worshippers – do contact him. fatherben@stbartholomewsbrighton.org.uk
 

Meeting ended at 20.20

Date of next meeting – Tuesday 13 October 2020