Revised plans for former Howard Kent site revealed

New plans for homes at the former Howard Kent site have been praised for being '˜substantially different' to previous designs for the development.

Draft designs for the site by Liam Russell Architects
Draft designs for the site by Liam Russell Architects

Despite some praise, however, concerns have been raised over the lack of affordable housing at the Shoreham Harbour site.

Liam Russell Architects has put forward designs for 24 houses and 24 flats at the site in Brighton Road.

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These would be in blocks of three and four storeys, with a small block of flats with six storeys to the river and double-height penthouse units up to eight storeys closest to Northgate Vehicle Hire.

A view of the proposed development from the south by Liam Russell Architects

Liam Russell said: “With green roofs throughout and new tree planting and landscaping to the A259, the proposals still have gaps between the blocks and work well with the lighthouse – i.e. the houses are three storeys at the east of the site.

“In addition, there is a community space proposed that could serve as a flexible space for local interest groups, café, doctor-drop-in and so on.”

Previous proposals put forward by the architects, consisting of 135 flats across three ten-storey blocks, prompted outrage.

The new designs were exhibited at the Barn Theatre in Southwick on Friday afternoon before a question and answer session with Liam Russell and Tim Loughton MP.

Andy Harvey, chairman of the Kingston Beach Residents’ Association, said the new designs were ‘substantially different’ to the last, adding: “They addressed quite a lot of the issues that people were very unhappy with in the previous proposals. A lot of people were a lot happier.”

He said people were still concerned about traffic but said the lower number of units was a mitigating factor.

Residents had lots of ideas about what contribution money from the development could be put towards – such as a playground on Kingston Beach, toilet space, the conversion of the old customs house into a community space, he said.

However, many people were concerned about the lack of affordable housing, according to Mr Harvey.

Mr Russell said: “Concerns were expressed over the lack of affordable housing but in the spirit of openness, we explained the issues of the enhanced site costs mean it was very difficult to achieve a low-density proposal such as the one presented, whilst still achieving a viable outcome.

“That said, the practice was asked to consider a new play area on Kingston Beach which is really exciting. Alongside the community space that could provide a real difference to the area for the positive.”

Mr Loughton said the new designs were ‘mostly less imposing’ than the last and said the architects had ‘a genuine desire to engage with the community this time’.

He said: “There are still some major hurdles to cross around the absence of affordable properties and suitable play areas for children for example but this is a step in the right direction.”