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Selma Montford with a key question about the Circus Street development. Why, she asks, does the council ignore its own policies?

The developers of the Circus Street site claim that they have taken criticisms of their plan on board and modified their scheme, yet the changes they have made are so minimal they would not even be noticeable.

The city council’s own City Plan and its Tall Buildings Policy limits the height of buildings in Circus Street to six storeys. Yet the developers have submitted a plan for:

  • Student flats: three buildings of nine storeys, one building of 12 storeys.
  • Residential flats: two buildings of seven storeys, two buildings of eight storeys, one building of 10 storeys
  • Brighton University library: six storeys
  • Office building: seven storeys.

Apparently the council, the majority landowner of the site, and in a public-private partnership with the developer, has already agreed to these heights. So why does the council ignore its own policies?

This drives a coach and horses through the City Plan and leads to buildings which are out of scale with the buildings along the east side of Valley Gardens.

It results in overdevelopment of the site with dark canyons between residential buildings, rather than the sunny courtyards and the flower-filled entrance to the Milner flats, which the developer uses to convince the public into thinking this would be a sunny paradise.

If this inappropriate scheme goes ahead it will invite other developers, who we believe are already waiting in the wings, to submit similarly out-of-scale schemes.

The council would not then dare to recommend refusal, for fear of developers going for an expensive appeal against the decision.

Should we then join with the council and tear up the City Plan and the Tall buildings Policy?

Selma Montford
Hon Secretary, The Brighton Society