Neighbours oppose flats plan for old housing office

Neighbours are objecting to plans to add an extra floor to a former Brighton housing office.
Former Housing Office in Oxford Street, BrightonFormer Housing Office in Oxford Street, Brighton
Former Housing Office in Oxford Street, Brighton

Brighton and Hove City Council wants to turn the building – the old housing office in Oxford Street – into 10 flats for people in need of affordable temporary housing.

Currently 1,410 households – some of them individuals and some of them families – are living in temporary accommodation, with 9,738 people on the housing waiting list.

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The Oxford Street proposal is due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee this week when members will decide whether to give planning permission for the scheme.

The building – George Cooper House – was a council housing office until 2014 when staff were moved to the housing centre in Moulsecoomb.

The planning application for the site includes four one-bedroom flats and six flats with two bedrooms.

Planning officials support the scheme and have recommended that planning permission be granted but neighbours in Ditchling Road have objected.

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They are concerned about losing light to their homes because of the proposed extra storey.

Green councillor Pete West, who represents St Peter’s and North Laine ward, which includes Oxford Street, shared neighbours’ concerns.

He asked for the application to go before the planning committee if officers recommended approval.

Twelve anonymous objections are listed on the council’s website, with one neighbour saying: “It is surely not acceptable that the proposed additional storey will have such an impact on such a large number of properties for the creation of just two additional flats.

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“There have been a significant number of objections raised in the previous comments citing concerns with this proposed additional storey.

“These concerns have been raised due to the obvious impact this additional storey will have (due to overshadowing) and these concerns are supported by the scale of the negative impact that has been calculated in the right to light reports.”

Another neighbour whose details were redacted said: “My hallway currently receives adequate light levels as I have a sunny well-lit hallway.

“The proposed additional storey will block direct sunlight and overshadowing will have a detrimental impact on my flat.”

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The same neighbour also criticised the public consultation which took place for three hours during the day when many residents would be at work.

A report to the Planning Committee said that the proposal would affect some windows of some flats in Ditchling Road.

If the scheme is approved, the council would be required to pay a developer’s contribution totalling almost £36,000.

This would consist of almost £7,000 for education, to a secondary school, £3,000 towards the council’s local employment scheme and £26,000 towards open spaces.

The application is due to be decided by the council’s planning committee at Hove Town Hall next Wednesday (June 12). The meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm and should be open to the public.