Though both this and the Circus Street development – both intended to be mixed use student, residential and commercial premises (is anything NOT ‘mixed use’ any more?) appear to be on ice at the moment, presumably owing to University of Brighton (London developer U + I’s intended partner) dropping its student numbers as its place drops in the national university league table.
However this freeze is no bad thing in our view while the future of the historic Mannock Building and the Crimean War building (both recommended to be saved in a council report from 2011) remain in doubt – the last part of the historic Preston Barracks left standing. Any competent developer would imaginatively seek to incorporate these into the development and use them as the inspiration for the development around them so that the final result was pleasing to the eye rather than the jarring proposition that it currently is. For all their touchy feely media relations and support of ‘local makers’, developer U + I (formerly Cathedral) don’t deliver anything special in the final development if the artist’s impressions are to be believed. Yet Lewes Road is a main ‘gateway’ to Brighton and deserves better.
Other news is that the CPRE have spoken out against developers welching on their promises of affordable housing quotas following the fall in some area quotas from a recommended 40% to only 18%, all because councils are under increasing government pressure to meet their local housing targets – targets which are nonsensical when one considers that not one new unit will be ringfenced for local housing need, but is likely to be snapped up by an investment buyer or second home owner, making not one iota of difference to local housing need ‘Affordable housing’ is also one of the main excuses being used to encroach on once-protected greenbelt land, which makes it doubly outrageous when the required quota is not being delivered in full.
Regrettably, with a hung parliament, it may be some time before there is such a thing as a robust national housing committee to consider these issues.