Thursday, 26 February 2015

Removal of the Mazda fountain.

As part of the proposed Valley Gardens redevelopment scheme the current plan is to remove the Mazda Fountain. There are several reasons for this decision:-
  • The Mazda Fountain has no inherent historic connection to Valley Gardens – it was designed for the British Empire Exhibition in London.
  • Because the Fountain was designed for a very different environment, it is not particularly suited to the Valley Gardens context.
  • The inefficient operation of the fountain is inconsistent with principles of sustainable water management.
  • Better use could be made of money currently spent operating and maintaining the fountain – potentially this money could contribute to a more efficient water feature designed for the Valley Gardens context.
  • The current fountain takes up a large amount of space that could be better used for other purposes.
The new fountain / water feature proposed would be situated in front of St Peters and include a shallow, low maintenance and ecologically beneficial rill running through the area.

See also: The Mazda Fountain.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Crowdfunding for the Hippodrome

£25,000 is needed to fund Phase 2 of the campaign which includes the commissioning of full architectural plans.

If just 1% of the City's population pledges £10 they'd be there.

Go to:-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Brighton Museums website

The Royal Pavilions & Museums now has a beautiful-looking new website.

The Home page
(This is the page to bookmark)
The buttons along the top link to the 5 different locations and the 6th button 'Discover' on the right enables you to explore in depth. 

The Discover page has buttons for Collections, Learning, Get Involved Highlights, Blog, and What's On.

The Collections page has links to; Natural Sciences, World Art, Decorative Art, Local & Social History and Fine Art.

Coupled with its great looks, the straightforward and intuitive navigation makes the site a pleasure to visit.  A great improvement on the old.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Another litter rant

If you thought that all modern litter was the same motley collection of drink containers and fast-food wrappers think again. There seems no limit to the creativity of the contemporary litter-lout. This collection in Braypool Lane features collapsed balloons and exhausted Mosa 'cream chargers'.

Cream chargers are filled with nitrous oxide; the balloons were presumably used to assist inhalation.  It must have been a good party.

Other rants about litter:-
Does this make you as cross as it does me?
University litter louts.
Pavilion Gardens litter

Friday, 20 February 2015

Carlton Hill development.

In a series of earlier posts Brighton Bits inveighed against a proposed development (see BH2012/04086/7) on Carlton Hill mainly with reference to the proposed demolition of an ancient flint wall.

Earlier design
Although the earlier application was approved by the planning committee the architects have commendably returned to the drawing board to take account of comments by the Conservation Advisory Group and the Brighton Society.

New design
In the latest application, BH2015/00333, the use of render and pitched roofs, with a ridge line that is “stepped” to reflect changes in gradient, has produced a design more respectful of the surrounding conservation area and neighbouring listed buildings.

There is also an improved layout for the office space making it more attractive to users. It is estimated to have a greater employment potential than the existing buildings on the site.

Unfortunately the old flint wall is doomed but the proposed replacement looks much better than that originally proposed and similar to many Victorian/Edwardian flint and brick walls to be seen around Brighton.

Brighton Station gateway - latest

Work has now begun on the final phase of the Gateway scheme  which is scheduled for completion this summer. Between now and then work will progress east to west through the area, beginning with the taxi rank area in the east.

From Monday 23rd February the area around the taxi rank approach road will be resurfaced.   Between 23rd February and 6th March no southbound traffic will be permitted on Terminus Road from Bath Street onwards and diversions will be in place for southbound through traffic from Seven Dials.  During this time a temporary rank will operate from Terminus Road, on the western side of the station.

Subsequent work entails:
Re-paving the entire area using high-quality UK-sourced stone.
Installing new lighting
Providing improved bus stop facilities.
Enhancing the sense of place though seating, greenery, and street furniture.

For the duration of the works southbound traffic will not be permitted south of Trafalgar Street / Guildford Road.

Save Our Hippodrome - latest video

This campaign certainly seems to have legs now . . .

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Royal Standard - update

8th Feb 2015

No change - the southerly pillared cupola is still missing.

No planning application appears to have been submitted for its removal.

Previous post (15 months ago) : The Royal Standard

Monday, 16 February 2015

Musings on St. Peter's

One doesn't need to be a subscriber to the Invisible Sky Wizard's fan club to be relieved to see that something is at last going to be done about the long-crumbling tower. The church has dominated the main gateway into Brighton for 187 years and it is disturbing to contemplate the effect its loss would have on the city's skyline.

Phase1 of the work is estimated to cost £365K which doesn't seem a lot. It will presumably only cover emergency repairs. Just enough maybe to stop lumps of masonry falling on the faithful's heads. A full restoration, including reinstating the north east pinnacle that was removed in 1990, will cost another £635K.

Archie Coates, the Vicar, has appealed for public donations.

Brighton's godless hoards might view this more sympathetically if there was something in it for them, apart from merely aesthetic considerations.  St. Peter's is often described as Brighton's "cathedral" and one of the visitor attractions offered by many of the UK's other cathedrals is access to their towers from which unrivalled birds-eye views can be enjoyed. Why not provide a similar facility for St. Peter's restored tower? The consequent positive publicity would surely help to boost the restoration fund. And, when restoration is completed, the extra flow of visitors in search of a special experience could provide an on-going source of income for the church.

Previous post: St.Peter's - then & now.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Save our Hippodrome

We have a hidden gem in Brighton. One that could even help Brighton become a City of Culture. Even though Vue Cinemas has withdrawn its proposals the future of the building is still uncertain, so all lovers of theatre and historic local architecture are needed to help rescue the Hippodrome theatre from faceless retail expansion.

Other links:-

Friday, 6 February 2015

Public Access at Stanmer

On 12th. February the BHCC Policy and Resources Committee is being recommended to dedicate land at Stanmer under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000. This land was designated as open access land in 2005, but this latest move will ensure public access is retained in perpetuity. The land affected is 489 acres of council-owned land at Home Farm, and St Mary’s Farm.

The proposal follows the opening up of other council-owned farmland for public access to allow residents and visitors to make the most of the countryside around the city.

275 acres of land at Patcham Court Farm were dedicated as public access land under the CRoW Act, following a decision in 2012, and 37 acres at Ditchling Road are in the process of being formally dedicated as public access land.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

All change at Hove Town Hall

Planning permission has been granted for works to expand office capacity at Hove Town Hall and radically improve its energy efficiency. In the next five years the council needs to save over £100m out of its current £770m budget, due to cuts in funding from central government and rising costs.

The Hove Town Hall plan is part of modernising the council through flexible working using new technology, reducing accommodation costs and occupying fewer buildings. It will make use of the existing space within Hove Town Hall, to help to accommodate approximately 650 additional staff. Key features of the plan are the creation of new floors within the central main area, conversion of redundant space into new offices, refurbishment of existing areas and formation of new meeting spaces. The plan will mean the council can decant workers from its current HQ Kings House on Hove seafront, then sell the building which is currently being marketed.

To improve energy efficiency the entire glass façade of the building will be replaced with modern double glazed units.  The roof will have new coverings and solar panels generating electricity. A new heating and ventilation system will further improve efficiency.

The front entrance would be altered to create a café for public and staff and bring a more lively frontage to the building.  There would be outdoor seating under a canopy, complementing the regular street food markets.  The façade above the entrance would be brought forward to create additional space. All external landscaping, which is now attractively mature, will be unaltered.

In addition the Great Hall and its associated areas will be converted to retail on the ground floor.  New office space above would be let commercially to external organisations, improving income for the council.

From the end of March, while works are underway, the planning committee will move to Portslade Town Hall for up to 18 months.  Meetings will be webcast via the council’s website.  A hearing loop and full disabled access will be available.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Local List

The local list is a list of buildings, parks and gardens considered to be of special interest, because of their local architectural/design, historic and/or townscape interest.  A call for nominations was held in 2013, and since then, over 500 nominations have been assessed against the selection criteria to produce a draft local list.

This list has now been published and can be viewed on the Council's website here.

A typical page
The Conservation Officer responsible has carried out a very thorough job and the result is a valuable register of the many buildings and other sites that help to establish the City's historic character.

An associated draft Planning Advice Note (PAN) has also been produced.  This provides further information on local listing, including the selection criteria, procedure for review and implications of local listing: Local listing does not provide extra legislative controls or protection for those buildings, parks and gardens included on the local list.  Permitted development rights are not affected. There is no additional control over changes which do not require planning permission or over internal changes.  As such, local listing is different to statutory listing at national level, which provides additional controls over changes to both the interior and exterior of the building.

However, the presence of a property on such a list does provide a signal to the owner of its importance in the townscape and when planning permission is required, that the special interest or ‘significance’ of the asset will be taken into account.

Comments are invited on the draft local list and draft PAN (But no new nominations). Assessments will only be reconsidered on the basis of new evidence which clearly shows how the asset does or does not meet the selection criteria.

A number of thematic surveys have also been undertaken as part of the review, including surveys of street lighting and letterboxes.  Due to the number of these two types of asset, selectivity is required.  Specific criteria have been produced in each case, and examples meeting the criteria will be added to the list when they are identified.  Only one example of an unlisted K6 (red) telephone kiosk has been identified in the city, and has been retained on the draft local list.

Examples of street lighting and letterboxes which meet the thematic criteria, or any further unlisted examples of K6 (red) telephone kiosks.  These should be submitted to the Heritage Team by email or letter, with an exact location, a short description and if possible also a photograph.