Terrible Blow For Rottingdean’s Heritage


This week saw a terrible blow for Rottingdean’s heritage. Following strenuous efforts from SAFE  (St Albyn’s Fields Evergreen) in particular, the battle has been lost to save the stunning Grade II listed former St Aubyn’s School in the centre of the village (in itself a Conservation Area) from demolition and redevelopment.  The case went to judicial review.

It is now intended that this landmark building be replaced with 93 modern housing units.

To quote the Brighton Argus article:

‘The matter was brought before High Court Judge Sir Duncan Ouseley earlier this month, but all three claims were dismissed on October 8.

The judge recognised that the development “would cause clear harm to the setting of the Conservation Area” as it would reduce Rottingdean’s “green lung” – the area between the Conservation Area and the town itself.But he said the closure of the school in 2013 had left “substantial listed buildings, adjoining the High Street, in the Rottingdean Conservation Area, unused and unmaintained”.

This was part of his reason for approving the plans.

He also said the new development “would provide a very clear enhancement to the appearance and character of the conservation area over the existing ad-hoc collection of poor quality late 20th century buildings” and was “entirely sympathetic to the Conservation Area”.

A truly unbelievable conclusion. How on earth can these 93 boxes of ticky tacky in the middle of a historic village and former home of Kipling and Burne-Jones possibly be an ENHANCEMENT to the appearance and character of Rottingdean?

It is a substantial devaluing of this Conservation Area when a sympathetic flat conversion scheme (including retro-greening) could have easily been achieved. It is also a devaluing of the listings registry and Conservation Area scheme and could easily be used to set a dangerous precedent in the city.

Such a questionable verdict is certainly worthy of a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office

Celebrating Middle Street Synagogue

250th Anniversary Poster

As part of the 250th anniversary celebrations of the Brighton and Hove Jewish Community this year, there will be a number of events co-inciding with Brighton Fringe in May raise money for ongoing restoration works to the splendid Grade II* listed Middle Street Synagogue, designed by Thomas Lainson (designer of many fine buildings in Brighton and Hove) and opened in 1875. Early booking is advised, and includes opportunities to marvel at the breathtaking interior first hand. The Synagogue, described as the second most important historic building in Brighton and Hove after the Pavilion, is still used for special events, and remains a landmark to Jewish history in England.

Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission are proud to support their efforts to maintain this architectural gem, right next door to another gem – the Brighton Hippodrome – hopefully now also on the road to restoration to its former glory. Also taking place:

Brighton & Hove Jewry 250

The Sussex Branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England presents:

A Special Anniversary Lecture by Dr Sharman Kadish

Director, Jewish Heritage UK

Middle Street Synagogue and the Architectural Heritage of Brighton & Hove’

Tuesday 10th May 2016 at Ralli Hall, Denmark Villas, Hove BN3 3TH

at 7.45 pm (Doors open 7.15 pm). Refreshments served after lecture.

Tickets £6.00 (JHSE members free) – available from Brighton Fringe website or on door.