Friday, 29 April 2016

Marlborough House - restoration starting?

Planning application BH2016/01201 may be a welcome sign that the long-awaited restoration of Marlborough House is at last getting underway.

The application is for a temporary illuminated open weave mesh banner upon a full working scaffold upon the front elevation of the building. During the renovation and conversion of the host building a "1-1" image of the front elevation will be displayed on this banner. From time to time a commercial advertisement display will be shown in the centre of the banner. The commercial advert space will be less than 50% of the scaffold area, and as stated always framed by a 1-1 image of the building behind the scaffold.

See also: Serlian windows

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fate of Mannock House hangs in balance.

The Crimean War building (left) & Mannock House seen from south end of the development site
First proposals for the site prepared by the U+I regeneration company for the University of Brighton and BHCC.
Early plans show the Crimean War building retained and Mannock House replaced by a student housing block.

On the other hand:-

Extract from the 2011 Planning Brief for the site.
The Planning Brief states:
  • Both the "Crimean War" and Mannock buildings are undesignated (but potential) heritage assets, the qualities of which should be fully assessed and their retention considered in development proposals.
  • Should the retention of either one or both of these buildings constitute a major physical or financial constraint to realising the development objectives of this brief, maximum advantage should be taken to optimise the potential to create strong routes and linkages through the site and the wider development area covered by the brief.
In fact the block proposed for the Mannock footprint will account for less than 15% of the total student housing on the site so its omission could hardly be described as constituting a major constraint on the development.

It is also difficult to see how the loss of the Mannock and its replacement by another can be described as optimising "strong routes and linkages through the site."

Mannock House
The Crimean War building
The Crimean building continues in useful occupation; Mannock House is an elegant building of high-quality traditional construction and should be treated likewise. The preservation of the two buildings would provide an on-going evocative link to the site's military history. The creation of a small public open space in the angle between the two buildings would constitute a small 'pay-forward' to posterity.

City's Libraries Plan withdrawn

The following statement refers to a report on the council’s Libraries Plan which includes a proposal to sell the Hove Library building and use the proceeds to set up a new cultural centre, including library facilities, at Hove Museum. This proposal has created a lot of opposition and the possibility of the Conservatives and Greens on the Council uniting to support an amendment to the plan.

Council leader and chair of the policy and resources committee Cllr Warren Morgan has now deferred a decision on the plan due for debate tomorrow. He said:

“Following last-minute discussions with the opposition groups on the council, I have decided to withdraw the Libraries Plan from the agenda of this week’s policy and resources committee. This plan is essential in maintaining a council-run network of community libraries across the city, extending opening hours and delivering a library service for the residents of central Hove, all within the agreed and limited budget for the service.

“Throughout this process, senior officers from the libraries team have answered all of the points and queries put forward by councillors from all Groups, and have tabled a twenty five page business case setting out the financial case for the Libraries Plan as a whole. However I am keen that further time is given for exploration of the financial options involved if that is what is needed to secure a consensus.

It is vital that we move forward with this as soon as possible so that the future of the Carnegie Building is secured and so that political differences do not undermine a plan that has secured majority public support.”

Monday, 18 April 2016

British Airways i360 to get a spire.

An earlier post "What no Spire" commented on the disappointingly 'sawn-off' appearance of the 162 metre tower. This is now to be rectified. The Argus reports that the tallest building in Sussex is now to get a 11.45 metre spire making it the tallest of its kind outside of London.

If the planning application is approved, the i360 with spire  will out-top the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth which is 170 metres tall and pull further away from the 158 metre Blackpool Tower.

Read whole article.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Free City WiFi network

BHCC and BT have joined forces to make free wi-fi available at a range of locations across the city centre. The new outdoor network will cover the busiest areas for tourism, shopping and leisure, providing free wi-fi for local residents, hundreds of businesses, and the 11.5 million people who visit the city each year.

A total of 40 BT Wi-fi hotspots will be available on completion of the project, allowing visitors and residents to get online while ‘on the go’ through their smart phones, tablets and laptops. Thirty of the wi-fi access points are now live, with the remaining ten due to be switched on later in the summer.

The ‘BrightonHovefreewifi’ network will come at no cost to the council. In return, BT will get access to some of the city’s lamp posts and other street furniture allowing the company to install new mobile infrastructure.

The service will cover a large proportion of the city centre, including parts of Western Road, Queens Road, West Street, North Laine, London Road, St James’s Street and the seafront between Brighton Pier and the Hilton Metropole Hotel, as well as in front of Hove Town Hall on Church Road and at the top of George Street in Hove.

People within range of the network will be able to tap into free wi-fi following a simple on-off log in. They will then be taken automatically to a landing page with links to the council website and VisitBrighton the city’s main resource for visitor information.

For more information visit:

Hippodrome glory

Footage shot inside the theatre sometime in the 1980s. The film shows the theatre while in use as a bingo hall, as it had been from 1967. This represents a rare glimpse of the magnificent and still largely preserved interior of the Brighton Hippodrome Theatre.

Compare with: Hippodrome interior. Aug 2013

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

67 Preston Street gets makeover

A neglected Regency building, a prominent eyesore in one of the city's prestigious conservation areas, is now looking good thanks to the persistence of the council's planning enforcement team. Over a period of more than three years officers served a number of formal notices and worked closely with the building's owners to encourage them to bring 67 Preston Street back to its former glory. It has had its rough edges smoothed, repairs made and a new coat of paint in the distinctive cream colour of the city's historic squares and terraces.

This impressive Grade 2 listed building  on the corner of Regency Square was built c.1818 in the heyday of Brighton's emergence as a fashionable seaside resort. The architects were probably Amon Wilds & Amon Henry Wilds. It was the birthplace of early screen actor Eva Moore.

The building of 3 storeys features a rusticated porch in Preston Street with round-arched entrance and fanlight, a 20C shop front to ground floor and canted bay window to first floor. At its southern end the windows  are blind. The cast-iron railings have distinctive conical finials.

For many years the shop was occupied by the Frigidaire Refrigeration Co.

The building is listed together with the adjoining bow-fronted property round the corner in Regency Square

Friday, 8 April 2016

Listed building consent for Shelter Hall kiosk restoration

Better late than never, listed building consent has been granted for restoration of a listed kiosk on Brighton seafront.

Dating from around 1883, the yellow, 10-sided building opposite the bottom of West Street originally acted as a natural light lantern to illuminate the Shelter Hall below. Latterly it had operated as a snack bar.

It was dismantled in early February as part of £11m plans to rebuild the Shelter Hall and strengthen the A259 seafront road.  Structural deterioration meant the road, carried by a viaduct at this point, was at risk of collapse. 

Decay in the kiosk meant it needed dismantling urgently for safety reasons.   Its mild steel framework was seriously corroded and much of its woodwork rotten.  Subject to planning permission, it will be rebuilt on the East Street Bastion, a hundred metres to the east.  A new rotunda will be created on top of the rebuilt Shelter Hall.

Detailed photographs have been taken to ensure a faithful restoration.  Decorative ironwork will be used to make moulds so that missing pieces can be re-cast at a foundry in Oxfordshire.  Rotten woodwork will be replaced by Seth Evans Joinery from Patching, who worked on the council’s award-winning reconstruction of historic fishermen’s arches near the i360.  New window frames and shutters will be made.

Previous posts:-
The lower promenade shelter hall
Rebuilding of the Seafront Shelter Hall
New life for the Seafront Shelter Hall