Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Regency Society does a Plexit

The city's Conservation Advisory Group (CAG) is made up of representatives of the various conservation/amenity groups in the city of which the Regency Society is but one. They meet once a month to discuss important planning applications such as large developments or those involving Conservation Areas. The BHCC Planning Committee also meet once a month and co-opt a member of the CAG to their meeting so as to receive the views of the CAG on applications before them.

This seems to have worked reasonably well for many years until the Planning Committee meeting on the 25th June and consideration of application BH2016/02663. This application was for the mixed redevelopment of 1-3 Ellen Street, near Hove Station, in buildings 4 to 17 storeys in height.

The Planning Officer's recommendation was to refuse grant for reasons of insufficient affordable housing. The decision of the CAG was narrowly to support the application but with reservations about the height of the 17 storey building. The CAG representative enlarged somewhat on the considerable dissent the plans had engendered at their meeting and went on to query why more reasons for refusal had not been identified by the planning officer.

In the ensuing discussion many of the councillors appeared to agree with the CAG representative and, at the vote, the application was refused.

Subsequent to this the Chairman of CAG called on their representative to apologise for not accurately reflecting the views of the CAG. This the CAG representative refused to do.  The Chairman of the CAG then resigned and the Regency Society has now withdrawn from the CAG.

Whether the Regency Society has as much influence on planning outside the CAG or the CAG has as much influence on planning without one of its important members remains to be seen.

Now where have I heard that scenario before?

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