Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Telephone Box reborn

Marine Parade

Although most public telephones have now been made redundant by the mobile phone network,  the familiar red boxes are still hanging on in conservation areas and their removal would leave the street scene much the poorer. In their favour they all have electricity supplies and are very solidly built and durable. Some in busy areas have already been ingeniously converted to coffee kiosks.

Now a series of planning applications from architects M B Design & Build, working with the charity "Thinking Outside the Box", British Telecom and other registered charities, are seeking to convert other boxes for advertising.

“Thinking Outside the Box” is a charitable trust supporting homeless projects
around the country by undertaking to give a percentage of their earnings from
the retail uses of converted phone boxes. 

It is proposed to adapt disused boxes in Marine Parade, Trafalgar Street, Churchill Square, Dyke Road and St. Peter's Place to house full height LCD screens positioned immediately behind the glazed sides of the kiosks. The kiosks will be fully refurbished, fitted with toughened glass and repainted. The only other modification needed is to the door which involves installing a lock behind the pull plate.

St.Peter's Place

Thursday, 28 May 2015

A traffic-free trial for East Street

Under a trial scheme, beginning on Saturday May 30, East Street will be closed to traffic on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 7pm.  The area affected is from south of the taxi rank to King’s Road.

The aim of the closure is to create a more pleasant environment for the up to 20,000 people a day who use the street and is part of on-going traffic improvements to the historic Old Town. These improvements have already seen Ship Street closed to vehicles at the junction with North Street.

The trial will last for up to 18 months during which  time effects of the scheme will be monitored to allow a decision to be made on whether to make the
arrangement permanent. This will include ensuring that the scheme is
working well for local traders.

It will certainly obviate the comfort of the many from being impaired by the few.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Pole progress

The i360 is still just a hole in the ground but things are now set to change fairly rapidly. Concrete pumping is scheduled for Saturday with concrete being delivered just the few miles from Shoreham harbour. The first tower sections, the "cans", are scheduled to be delivered to the beach by barge at high tide on June 11th.

A crane with a jib nearly as high as Sussex Heights is to be employed in the assembly work. A special jig will allow successive cans to be slid in at the bottom of the tower while the completed portion is raised by the crane.

The architects, Marks Barfield, designers of the London Eye, are world famous. The launch, scheduled for next summer, of the no less ingenious i360, is likely to make the headlines around the world; so helping to ensure the future of the City as a modern, exciting, destination.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The 'Skylight' proposal

15 years ago the Opticon, the Moshi Moshi building in gloomy Bartholomew Square, received a Civic Trust commendation for design quality and positive impact on urban space. Its longevity is an indicator of its success. The owners have now come up with a novel proposal for overcoming lack of space for expansion. A recently filed planning application BH2015/001149 proposes a restaurant in the sky - 'The Skylight'.

This involves the construction of circulation/access tower from the existing restaurant to a new high level pavilion, with a bright copper cladding, which spans the space from the tower to the roof of Bartholomew House. 

The orientation of the pavilion, of lightweight construction, is approximately north-west so that the far end looms over the junction of Prince Albert  and Black Lion Streets as shown below. Although I have used the word 'looms' (for want of a better) the applicants prefer to liken the pavilion to an elegant, lightweight lantern floating amongst the roof-tops. Interestingly this appears to be the only location in the Lanes from which the construction will be at all obtrusive.

The new restaurant will be organised into three dining spaces; the north-west area, visible above, with views to the Downs, a south-east facing lounge with views towards the Pier, and in between, a central area clustered around an Open Kitchen and with views of the City and sea.

Brighton seems to be 'looking-up' generally.

Architects - Michael Spooner, London

The Old Ship Hotel Garage - update

Councillors have unanimously approved planning application BH2014/02100 for the three-storey garage fronting onto Black Lion Street to be demolished. It would be replaced with a new six-storey building with eight one-bed flats and 10 two-bed flats. Forty per cent of the flats would be affordable housing, with tenure arrangements still to be decided. There would be cycle parking and spaces for 14 cars.

Under conditions to be agreed with the council, developers would be required to contribute £45,000 towards open spaces and indoor sports, £12,000 for real-time bus information boards, £20,000 for education and £14,000 for public art. They would also be required to make a £9,000 contribution to local job creation and employ 20 per cent local labour during building.

Parts of the Old Ship date back to 1767 and are Grade 2-star listed. It is generally a good redevelopment but the suggestion by CAG and others that the iconic 1920's lettering be somehow salvaged and reused on the new building was dismissed. Presumably because the Planning Officers who reported on the application were not Brighton-born and bred.
Architects - Howarth Litchfield, Durham