Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Royal Alexandra site proposals

If Taylor Wimpey are given permission to demolish the abandoned hospital building this is what they would put up in its place. It is certainly more attractive than the original proposals which they displayed several years ago in the St. Mary Magdalene Hall. Perhaps from their point-of-view it is a shame they did not give the project a great deal more research and care at that time. As it was, the slab-sided barracks they proposed then, started a storm of protests and campaigning which they have yet to defuse.

I can imagine quite liking this design in another situation but TW, in proposing it as a substitute for the Victorian confection that still clings to existence on this landmark site, are faced with more than simple nostalgia for a much-loved building. As others have pointed out, its red-brick defines, with two other red-brick buildings, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Michaels, a triangular conservation area of virtually unspoilt Victorian stucco, and its replacement with a modern development would therefore mark a deplorable incursion into the architectural integrity of the area.
TW has also exhibited an alternative scheme that retains the hospital building and converts it to flats but it is remarkable that neither scheme, because of economic constraints, will be able to satisfy the Council's Planning Brief. If, in September, TW submits a planning application along the lines it has shown it will in fact be challenging the Council. If the City wants to keep the RA building it can't also have a proportion of affordable housing and a doctors' surgery. Affordable housing of course, means higher density housing, and with so many properties all over Brighton not fully occupied, one has to wonder how such a requirement can be justified in an area such as this.


  1. As you say, neither proposal meets the planning brief but the new design is superior to previous suggestions.

    And, frankly, neither is good enough. It's disappointing to have to oppose both because I worry that the Alex is the new Werst Pier... that we'll lose it anyway to fire. I walk past it late at night and often hear voices, the security panels bent over.

    I disagree with you, and think a clutch of affordable housing here will be a boon to the area (I live a few streets away). And we really do need a better surgery up here on the west hill.

    And anyway? What's happening in the car park space across the way?

  2. The site is supposed to have 24hour security Dan.
    As regards the car park space I seem to remember a planning application for several houses was submitted about a year ago. I presume it was granted.

  3. I think by combining the two sites, we could find a good resolution. I'd like to see preservation of the best bits of the Victorian structure, a new GP surgery and also affordable housing.

    The 24 hour security is not effective. If it was, the site wouldn't have deteriorated as it has over the past few years. Broken window, graffiti etc.


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