Good news! The Council's latest draft City Plan has removed Old London Road, Patcham as a designated development site

Current view from north

This is what McCarthy and Stone planned to build

Current view from south

This is what McCarthy and Stone wanted to build

Latest news March 2020 - the draft City Plan no longer includes Old London Road as a development site

The 5 existing homes and many of the trees would be demolished

Over the past 15 years there have been 3 unsuccessful attempts by the developer, McCarthy and Stone, to get permission to build a block of retirement flats on the land at 46 to 54 Old London Road. The last application was rejected by the Government's Planning Inspector in August 2017.

It is reassuring that the latest version of the City Plan in March 2020 has removed Old London Road as a potential development site commenting 'The Council is not satisfied that the site is available for development and the allocation has therefore been removed from the City Plan.' In 2019 ownership of two of the properties on the site changed with families moving in.

It is good news that the prospect of inappropriate redevelopment of this attractive part of Patcham has now become less likely. 

Background

Between 5 July 2018 and 13 September 2018 the Council consulted on their draft development plan for the City (called the City Plan Part Two). This includes listing sites that the Council is happy to see developed to meet its target of 13,200 new homes by 2030. One of the sites is 46 to 54 Old London Road, where the Council would expect to see 30 residential units built to replace the 5 family homes that would be demolished (so there would be a net gain of 25 residential units). 'Residential units' (Class C3) includes houses (eg detached, semi, terrace, mews) and flats. Given the size of the site it is highly likely that any development would be flats. It could include accommodation for the elderly depending on the self-containment of the homes, level of care and whether overnight care is available. (McCarthy and Stone's application last year was classed as a Class C2 development due to the high level of support provided to residents).    

By allocating 46 to 54 Old London Road for a development of 30 units, the Council is indicating that they are happy in principle to see this land intensively developed. They also say that 'The indicated numbers of residential units may be exceeded if this can be justified through detailed examination of site specific considerations'. Any planning application put forward would need to comply with the Council's normal planning policies and will be open to public consultation.  

Given that the Council last year vigorously opposed McCarthy and Stone's planning application on this site for a variety of reasons, including the increased flood risk, it is surprising that they now seem to be supporting intensive development on this site.

Why we object

We believe that the site which currently accommodates 5 family homes is too small for 30 houses or flats. Many of reasons which led 350 people to object to McCarthy and Stone's last application continue to apply. For example: 

  •  Scale & density - this density of housing will spoil Village look & feel, and  materially impact the character and appearance of the area.
  • Parking - 30 new homes will intensify parking problems in road

  • Traffic - increase in congestion volume 

  • Trees, mature gardens & wildlife - replaced by intensive building and parking

  • Privacy - loss of privacy to surrounding neighbours, plus unsightly outlook

  • Flood risk - sewage system capacity (sewage overflowed into the road in 2000)

Two members of the planning team attended a meeting of Patcham Local Action Team on 28 August 2018 to discuss development plans for Patcham and there was much anger from the audience at the proposals for Old London Road.

Many local people wrote to the Council as part of the consultation asking for Old London Road to be removed from the Plan as a development site.

What our Councillors have said

This is an extract from the letter of objection dated 12 September 2018, sent by our ward councillors (Lee Wares, Geoffrey Theobald and Carol Theobald) to the Council: 

'We are deeply concerned at the inclusion of five private detached houses at 46-54 Old London Road. Other than previous attempts by McCarthy and Stone (Mc&S) to acquire and develop the land on which the houses and gardens are located (all of which have been rejected by the Council and/or by the Planning Inspector at appeal) there has been no other development interest in this land; it is the inclusion of this site within these proposed Policies that will create interest. It is incredulous that the Council draws a line around five individually privately owned homes and designates those plots into one site and states in the Policy that this “site” has been identified and should be developed. It is entirely inappropriate for the Local Authority to just designate in Policy private property for development by others without the agreement of the land owners. It was noted at the recent residents’ meeting that officers would seek to establish if the site is available and if not, would have to consider removing the site from the Policy. The Council should have determined this prior to including these houses. We understand that at least one of the property owners has objected to the inclusion of their property in this Policy; that alone should be enough for the site to be removed unless it is the Council’s intention, through Policy, to forcibly compel citizens to sell their property; quasi compulsory purchase scenario.

 

Irrespective of the above and not least because of reasons such as the detrimental harm that will fall on Patcham Village and the surrounding area due to scale, density, lack of infrastructure, impact on amenity, privacy, character, overlooking, drainage and historical flooding, the proposed Policy opens the site to a vastly different development proposition than that proposed by Mc&S.

 

In any respect, the proposal by Mc&S was for a number of units dedicated to senior residents that were unlikely to own vehicles. The open proposal in the Policy has no constraints and with the potential for say 30+ 1 bedroom flats equals the potential for 60+ vehicles none of which could be accommodated on the site in an area where the Council could not limit vehicle ownership. The impact of this alone would be devastating.'

 

What happens next

The consultation period closed on 13 September 2018. The Council are now considering all the representations they have had, including the considerable number of objections from the people of Patcham to the inclusion in the Plan of 46-54 Old London Road.  

In Autumn 2019, after considering all the consultation responses, the Tourism, Development and Culture committee and the full Council will publish the ‘Proposed Submission’ version of the City Plan part 2 for further consultation. It will be at that stage that we will see if 46-54 Old London Road has been removed from the Plan.

Then the Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination by a planning inspector. If the inspector considers it to be ‘sound’ then the Council can ‘adopt’ it. The adoption decision will be made by both Tourism, Development and Culture Committee and then Full Council.

To find out more

Further information on all sites proposed for allocation for development in the draft City Plan Part Two is set out with the ‘Housing Sites Allocation Technical Paper’ which is available to download from this webpage  https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/FINAL%20site%20allocations%20topic%20paper.pdf It provides an overview of the site selection process in the main section of the document, with more detailed site specific information in the appendices. The site profile for 46 to 54 Old London Road site (site number 13) is on page 52, and sets out the information which, together with the Inspector’s conclusion on the previous McCarthy & Stone scheme, has informed the decision to allocate the site.

The overall summary for this site states:

'The site currently consists of 5 detached dwellings on a fairly prominent roadside location, within the Patcham neighbourhood.  The site has existing road access via Old London Road and is in very close proximity to the Strategic Road Network.  The site has good, close access to bus services and local shops. A local park and schools are located within reasonable distance. Primary schools don’t appear to have capacity; the catchment secondary has capacity.  Health facilities are located some distance from the site.  The site is unlikely to have any issues with air quality, biodiversity or geological designations, recreation, landscape, contamination or utilities.  The site is in fairly close proximity to the Conservation Area and an Archaeological Notification Area. The site has previously suffered from surface water flooding and is identified as having low-medium risk of surface water flooding. The site is within GSPZ 1. Part of the site suffers from high levels of road noise.  The site is not within a tall building corridor and is not located within a heat network opportunity area.    There has been a recent unsuccessful planning application for the site, which suggests a willingness from the landowner to develop the site.  Site could have potential for residential uses subject to mitigation.' 

The draft City Plan Part Two and supporting documents are on the Council's website:  https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/planning/planning-policy/city-plan-part-two

 

About us

This shows the development site from the south. All these mature gardens would disappear

We are a group of local residents in Patcham who object to inappropriate over-development of the Old London Road. Over 350 people objected to plans last year by McCarthy and Stone to demolish numbers 46 to 54 Old London Road in order to build a retirement complex of 44 flats. Three previous plans for unsuitable developments have been rejected. The latest threat to the area is that the Council are now proposing that this site (46 to 54 Old London Road) be formally designated a development site for 30 residential units (Class C3 use). The site is opposite the former Patcham House School, a couple of hundred yards down the road from the Co-op. 

See our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ProtectPatcham/

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