Brighton College’s sway on conservation area questioned Brighton News

One householder, Mark Strong, addressed councillors about Brighton College before they approved an official document entitled the College Conservation Area Character Statement.

He spoke out at the start of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee meeting.

Mr Strong said there was strong local feeling that the statement’s name gave “undue influence” to Brighton College and did not address how pedestrian safety was affected by the public school.


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He said: “Will the chair consider renaming the statement, eg, to ‘Walpole and College Conservation Area Character Statement’ – and also to support further investigation of pedestrian safety and amenity in the area, including consideration of street improvements?”

A five-week consultation on the area’s character statement generated 75 responses, of which 59 were residents, with 46 people either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the draft character statement.

Outside the meeting, Mr Strong said: “Obviously, I can’t say why they didn’t like it but reading the responses implies it’s because they’re not happy with the college’s recent developments.”

The council anonymised comments that were included in a report to the committee.

One said: “The statement does not identify the area as predominantly residential and … gives greater powers to Brighton College to develop sites within the conservation area by additions to the school buildings by changing residential use to education uses.”

Another anonymous comment said: “The financial influence of Brighton College should not be allowed to influence the planning process and has had a significant impact on the drafting of the character statement.”

Brighton College itself responded to the consultation, saying that the school archivist should have been involved and the statement did not recognise the “high-quality” new buildings on the campus.

A conservation area character statement can be drawn up to define aspects of special archaeological and historical interest in a conservation area.

The College Conservation Area was created in April 1988 and covers Brighton College and eight residential roads close to the school.

It is the last of Brighton and Hove’s 33 conservation areas to have a character statement prepared.

The statement itself said: “The character of the area is a mix between the centrally Gothic campus, with its later 20th century and contemporary additions, and 19th century terraced housing.”

Labour councillor Alan Robins said that a change of name could be considered as part of a review of the conservation area.

Councillor Robins, who chairs the council’s Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee, said: “The statement does not confer any undue influence on Brighton College or any other organisations or individuals.

“The purpose is to help assist in the design and heritage aspects of the future development proposals affected by any part of the conservation area.”

Regarding road safety and anti-social parking, Councillor Robins said that this was not within the remit of the character statement.

Officials had passed on relevant information to the council’s parking strategy team.

Councillors voted to publish the College Conservation Area Character Statement.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-21 09:08:05

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