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Extra Floor Refused For Historic Brighton Seafront Building

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 07:15

By Sarah Booker-Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors have rejected plans to add an extra storey to one of the oldest buildings on Brighton seafront.

Rapido Services wanted to add a floor to 132 King’s Road, Brighton, which used to house the Melrose restaurant and is now home to Pinello.

The Surrey property company proposed creating a two-bedroom flat, with a front roof terrace with a stone balustrade, along with a new lift and stairwell.

Even though the site is believed to be the oldest building in King’s Road, dating from the 18th century, it is not listed but is part of the Regency Square Conservation Area.

One of the neighbouring buildings, 131 King’s Road, to the east, is grade II* listed. And Astra House at 133-134 King’s Road is locally listed.

In 2021, an application for a four-storey extension was refused as it would “cause harm and damage to the existing building and the adjoining listed building”.

Eleni Shiarlis, whose family own the ground floor and basement and ran the Melrose for 55 years, objected to the plans.

She addressed Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday, June 5 when members discussed the application.

She said:

“The proposed roof extension is a modern addition with full height glazing to the front elevation, which would be entirely out of keeping with the historic nature of the building and its neighbours.

“It doesn’t respect the architectural detail in the building itself, appearing poorly designed, with no consideration of heritage assets near by.”

Ms Shiarlis said that the building was made from bungaroosh – a mix of bricks, stones and flints set with hydraulic lime – which might not be strong enough to bear the extra floor.

Regency ward councillor Alison Thomson said that it was strange that the building was not listed despite being 20 years older than the neighbouring grade II* listed building.

She said:

“In 1952, which is when the heritage folk came along armed with their clipboards and their listing categories, they awarded St Aubyns house next door a grade II*.

“Perhaps they were so dazzled by all the gorgeous Regency Square architecture in front of them that they simply overlooked the oldest property of all.”

Michael Wilson, the applicant’s agent and a specialist restoration architect, said that the building needed restoration and maintenance.

He said that adding the penthouse would help fund the restoration work to bring the building back to how it was in Regency times.

Mr Wilson said:

“The structural engineer has described in his report as to how the structure will be sitting on the existing steel cross supports already set into the party walls, so no new beams are required.

“The very small extra load on the single storey becomes negligible when you consider these floors are supporting ten floors to the west and five floors to the east.”

Labour councillor Ty Galvin was concerned about building another storey on bungaroosh.

Councillor Galvin said: “There was a recent case of a laundrette owner who moved a machine and the building cracked up.”

Fellow Labour councillor Paul Nann was against the application, describing it as an “intimate project”.

He said: “It’s a slightly risky project and I think people who will be near it will have their amenity impacted.

“With that in mind, I’m concerned by the lack of consultation by the developer. He doesn’t seem to have spoken to anyone about how they feel about it and what should be done.”

Councillor Nann was told that developers were encouraged to consult but that it was not a requirement of the planning process.

Conservative councillor Carol Theobald, Green councillor Sue Shanks and Labour councillors Liz Loughran and Tobias Sheard voted in favour of the application.

Five councillors voted against because the scheme would result in unacceptable loss of light to neighbouring residents and the new glass-fronted apartment would harm the conservation area and the neighbouring listed buildings.

They were Brighton and Hove Independent councillor Mark Earthey and Labour councillors Galvin and Nann, Jacob Allen and Maureen Winder.

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