Saturday 13 November 2010

New England Quarter - block J

A planning application is expected before Christmas for the one remaining undeveloped part of the extensive station site, the roughly triangular block J, seen here from its northern apex in Fleet Street.  It extends from this point southwards to the Trafalgar Place office development, which can be seen in the distance, and is at present in use as a car park at £6.50 per day. This is quite reasonable, unless you need to get to the station. There is no direct access and the fall of land from station level to Fleet Street is a massive 9 metres.

As part of their "Station Gateway Project" the Council are committed to improving access to this side of the station. To accomodate this, developers "Square Bay" are proposing a wide flight of steps and a lift which will provide access to the station from the far south-west corner of the site to about the present drop-off point. This will also link up with the extended pedestrian 'greenway' from New England Hill, which at present ends at Fleet Street.

At the south end of the site is planned an eight-storey, 98 bed hotel and commercial office space linking to the station. The heights of these developments will be slightly lower than Trafalgar Place. and when viewed from a distance will fall below a line linking the station sheds with St. Bartholomews.

Moving north further development will provide market housing and affordable housing in two separate blocks. The signature external finishes of the buildings will comprise grey brickwork and galvanised iron balcony panels in a square mesh design. This design is intended  to allow light on to the balcony,  but because of their depth, also provide privacy when viewed from an angle. There is no intention to indulge the current prediliction of some architects for bare wood cladding.

Elsewhere on the site will be: retail at ground level; terraces & allotments; public square; children's play area. Throughout the development extensive use will be made of sustainable technolgies to a very high standard.

The public consultation on these proposals was by means of an exhibition at the Community Centre, which is fairly well-hidden around the back of "One Brighton".  A card for comments was provided but with no postal return address. The exhibition is not at present online.

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