Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission to apply for Conservation Area status for Brighton General Hospital

Brighton General Hospital

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission has been in high level discussions with Brighton & Hove City Council concerning its proposal for the historic Brighton General Hospital site to be designated as the city’s 35th Conservation Area. The reasons are many. It is the last almost complete “workhouse complex” left in the country, the Kitchener Indian Hospital from 1916-20 where hundreds of wounded sepoys were nursed and then the Brighton Municipal Hospital, and has been a landmark across the city for 154 years.

Backing for the idea has proved unanimous from the many local amenity groups that have so far replied to the presentation. They include the Regency Society, Hove Civic Society, Brunswick Town Association, North Laine Community Association, Ovingdean Residents Presevation Soc, and Rottingdean Preservation Soc.  This enables the proposal to be put forward for public consultation. Save Brighton General Action Group has also been positive.
Details of that presentation are below;
REQUEST FOR THE CONSIDERATION AND SUPPORT FOR THE BRIGHTON GENERAL HOSPITAL SITE BE DESIGNATED AS THE 35th CONSERVATION AREA
The site is the last virtually intact Workhouse complex left in the country, occupying a large acreage at the top of Elm Grove. The first buildings were opened in 1867 (area 1 on the attached plan) finishing before 1900 (area 2 on the attached plan). Although the Arundel Building was listed Grade II in 1999 the rest of the buildings were not. However they do have a very important “group value” for the site. See attached annotation plan. The proposed CA would be Area 1 (amber) and Area 2 (pea green) on the attached BHCC Listed Building Curtilage Map dated 10/01/2007. Area 3 (blue) would be excluded as SCFT plans indicate the northern part of this area will be the site of the new Health Hub.
Not only is there architectural value to these buildings where local vernacular materials were used, but the not listed buildings’ past uses were very specific, such as the Lunatic block, and Asylum Wings, and the Bread Token house. Moreover, the site has an unequalled social history. A workhouse, then in 1916 the Kitchener Indian Hospital for hundreds of wounded Sepoys, Subedars were placed at the Pavilion and Dome. Then in 1920 it reverted back to the workhouse, in 1934 the Brighton Municipal Hospital (run by Brighton Corporation) and finally it became the NHS hospital in about 1950.
The palatial listed Arundel Building does not give the true picture of what life was really like in the workhouse, other buildings do that.
At present technically all could be demolished without needing permission other than the listed building. I have met with Lucie Carayon the director of Ancient Monuments Society. I have also had discussions with Historic England while on their recent visit to Brighton, who share our concerns that more of the site is not protected.
Discussions have also taken place about the consideration of more buildings being listed, particularly for five others not including the historic flint walls and the Lodge. However my view is that this action would impinge on any proposals for the site’s ideal conversion into low cost housing, thus the formation of a Conservation Area will allow for much greater flexibility for plans for conversion but also protect the site in the meanwhile. A CA would allow for greater examination about what could be retained for conversion and what could be demolished, with a view to allowing sympathetic new build on areas such as on part of the present large car parks.But still maintaining some open spaces. The mathematics of major demolition and rebuild will not result in low cost affordable housing
The site’s designation as a Conservation Area does not mean the buildings are preserved but are protected, subject to demolition consent being granted. This procedure forms the legal part of the planning process for development in a conservation area.
The key is, that once designated as a CA, demolition consent is necessary for any structure within that area, whereas at present no permission is needed for demolition. Even the historic flint walls are technically not protected though some believe they are deemed to be in the curtilage of the listed building.
A similar situation occurred with the Royal Alex in 2005 when I started that campaign .The 1881 Lainson building was not listed but in a CA thus demolition consent was needed. The developer wished to remove all buildings on the site.The outcome was that demolition consent was refused for the main building but the group of buildings at its rear, after in-depth discussions with the community, were given permission to be demolished.
I would cite another example with which I was involved being a member of  CAG. The Carlton Hill Conservation Area. This was the last designated CA in the city in 2008. With the threat of the new Amex development subsuming the Mighell Street farmhouse and even seeing its demolition, together with the Thwaites Garage site adjacent ear marked for offices, there was a need to create a CA to give a greater control over what could be done in the 1 1/2 acre area which included Tilbury Place. The result was that the farmhouse was secured and on the garage site next door there has recently been completed a very sensible housing development, The application came to CAG in many forms but the result, which is now satisfactory, respects the setting of the listed farmhouse’s position within the CA and adheres to CAG’s request to reinstate the historic flint wall on Carlton Hill. The result would have been much more difficult to achieve if this area had not been designated as a Conservation Area.
On Tuesday 5th May I presented the proposal to CAG at its monthly meeting. The result, I am pleased to say, was a unanimous support for the initiative. The city’s amenity groups have been written to, and amongst those the Regency Society, Rottingdean, Ovingdean, Kemp Town Society North Laine, Brunswick Town, Montpelier and Clifton Hill and Hove Civic have already given their agreement to the idea, with others yet to reply. Membership structures are different in each group but of the mentioned collection of societies we calculate they represent some nine to ten thousand people.
Thus,we have an excellent opportunity of satisfying the needs of the community as well as securing the city’s built and social heritage for future generations.
Roger V. Amerena
Chairman
Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission
Joint Chairman
Brighton & Hove City Council Conservation Advisory Group

Conservation Advisory Group – Response to Old Town Consultation by Roger Amerena

brighton-old-town

Brighton Old Town Conservation Area
Draft Consultation
Conservation Advisory Group
Suggested comments on five questions set out on the
BHCC consultation portal.

By Roger Amerena

13-12-2016
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
1 Do you have any comments to make on the summary of the area’s historic
development? Has anything important been omitted?
2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?

2 Do you agree with the general assessment of what factors make up the
special interest of the Old Town conservation area, in terms of its character
and appearance?
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
Roger Amerena
Important Views
To be illustrated in the OTCA document
a. East Street north to Castle Square
b. East Street south from Castle Square
c. North Street from Castle Square
d. West Street south from the Clock Tower
e. West Street north from South Street
f. Ship Street south from North Street
g. Prince Albert Street from junction with Ship Street
h. Prince Albert Street west from the middle of the east section
i. Black Lion Street north to Lane End House
j. All views of the Town Hall
k. Middle Street looking north from South Street
l. Ship Street north from the Old Ship Hotel
m. East Street north from seafront
n. Market Street north from Town Hall
o. Seafront promenades
p. Seascape from Palace Pier.
3 Do you agree with the spatial analysis of the conservation area – the
pattern of the streets, the important spaces and buildings and the key
views?
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6. Character Areas
6.1 The assessment of the four sub areas would be correct though we would add that
there ought to be a proposal to include the south and west side of the Old Steyne of those
groups of buildings which abut the OT and are of pre C19th dates. Including Marlborough
House, The Royal York Buildings, Pool Passage Pool Valley and the Royal Albion site.
A general comment on the style of presentation is that there is too much reference
to present names of buildings rather than their street numbering. A CAS should have
longevity which will not occur over time with business changes. Though landmark buildings
should be named as such.
There is also a general feeling that the creator of the CAS has taken much from text books
and not walked and understood the area, also an architect’s view not a conservationist’s
view, we feel the document is very incomplete. This is very evident as many historic lanes
and parts of the public domain are not mentioned;
a. Wenlock House closed passage on North Street
b. Lewis’s Buildings thoroughfare with its historic original C17th cobbled and paviored
gullies and gutters
c. Duke Street Yard, untouched since C18th including its unusual timber framed Grade
ll house no.37a Duke Street.
d. Duke Court
e. Duke Passage
f. Unlisted C17th 41 Middle Street with its fascinating passage approach
g. South Street
h. Ship Street Court
i. Poplar Place
j. Clarence Yard
k. C17th passage between 10 and 11 East Street through to Little East Street
l. Passage in front of and extensively behind Nos 36 and 37 East Street.
m. Closed C17th passage behind No.4 Little East Street
n. Pool Passage
The use of the word “Twitten” be it from Sussex has never been used for the small
passages and lanes in the Old Town. Citation, yes in Patcham and Rottingdean, and
elsewhere in the city in the changed farmland areas. But in the Old Town the term should
be “Passage” and / or “Lane”.

Roger Amerena
4 Do you agree with the identification of four distinct ‘character areas’ within
Old Town?
5 Do you have any other comments to make on the draft Character
Statement?
6.3 An omission is that on its west there is a break from the designated building line
creating a wider part, which is visually pleasing. An indication of the older part of the street.
6.5 Rounded should read “segmental”
6.6 The synagogue now disused Grade ll* considered the second most important one
in Europe was Thomas Lainson’s best work.
6.7 The Paganini Room connects to the Regency Room similar, particularly the
ceiling, to Crunden’s C18th Castle Inn Ball Room now moved and rebuilt in Montpelier
Place
6.8 Nos. 4-6 a mock Tudor reproduction coaching inn of 1933 replacing the New Ship
Inn of the 1630s.
6.12 Dominating fig which together with tamarisk were the only form of vegetation in the
town at the beginning of the C19th. Traditional close paviors are used to clad this passage.
6.14 Although refronted with tripartite segmental bayed widows in 1824, it dates…
6.15 Original paviors have been replaced with concrete slab paving.
6.16 The view north from the Town Hall towards the towers of the Chapel Royal and
Hanningtons is an important street view. Nos 11,12 and13 are C17th buildings with the
mid Sussex red tile hung roofs typical of the Lanes of that period.
6.17 This caused the loss of the 1790’s theatre though No.32 respects the height and
setback of that original building
6.20 As it passes the open space of the Friend’s Meeting House , it is fronted unusually
for this area by single storey shops with restructure 1980’s bold details, but opposite is
Lane End House Grade ll, considered the most attractive C18th building in the OT.
6.21 Reference to bow windows should be replaced with “tripartite segmental bay
windows on the upper floors”.
6.25 The extreme east end of Kings Road and Pool Valley formed the only east west
seafront road prior to Grand Junction Road being built in 1829.
6.26 Which is thought to be the eastern side of the ancient open area called the Knab.
The Lanes.
6.27/ 28 Traditionally paved with closely laid paviors.
The Seafront
6.36 The iconic railings with their teak hand rails were installed together the lamp
standards in the 1880’s by Lockwood, the Borough Surveyor. All cast by Every’s of Lewes.
The 1980’s reproduction reinstated horse and carriage guard railing also a feature
6.37 The beach itself is a major factor even with its pebbles which exist even to low tide.
6.40 the frontage dates from the C19th apart from the 1950’s east addition
6.41 This locally listed building with its cream glazed tiled façade,
North Street and West Street
6.42 and the east side dominated by St Paul’s Church Grade ll * Any future development
opposite should respect with importance of this building, although outside the OTCA
6.47 Further to the north west is Dyke Road, formerly the route via Steyning to London

Roger Amerena
Trees.
There is now modern evidence of street tree planting. Hitherto these did not exist
in the Old Town, as it was surrounded by sheep down
Signage
Street signage is predominately of the alloy signs affixed from the 1940’s onwards
when the cast iron framed porcelain signs were replaced. The last survivor is Poplar
Place. Hannington Lane will soon have these reproduction 1860’s style signs
installed.
Pavements
Presently there are almost twenty different mediums of paving in the OTCA. Traditional
paving to the area should be paviors closely laid with no grout. Originals
seen next to Puget’s cottage which would have come from St John’s Common.
Lighting
Lamp standards are mainly of BLEECO form installed at electrification as from the
1930’s with their characteristic swan necked fitting. The period Windsor lights are
modern. Originally the gas lamp standards were made by Reed of North Road with
a cradle and Camberwell lamp fitted to their tops. See St Georges Church and the
Royal Pavilion estate.
Curb stones
Presently a variety, but early ones of Purbeck Granite can be seen, later clean cut
Perthshire granite is predominant but can be seen in Ship Street north and in East
Street
Roof Tiling
The vernacular until the railway arrived in 1841 was for red tile hang roofs and
westerly facing exposed walls. Then slate appeared.

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