7 January 2015

Council cuts red tape with Listed Buildings Partnership

Brighton & Hove City Council is proposing to make a Listed Buildings Heritage Partnership Agreement with the University of Sussex and English Heritage to protect the university’s unique 1960s listed buildings and streamline the planning process.

It would mean that Listed Buildings Consent for general or repeated work would be granted without the need for the University to individually apply for consent, saving time and money. This includes work to repair or replace the external fabric of buildings, internal fixtures and finishes to upgrade teaching facilities and works to improve safety and accessibility.

The University has carried out best practice for such works for many years and contributed to the current guidelines for listed buildings on the campus. It currently makes several listed building consent applications every year.

The Agreement would set conditions to ensure that work is carried out consistently using materials in keeping with buildings.

If agreed by the city’s Economic Development and Culture Committee on 15 January, the arrangement would be only the second one to be made in the country.

Committee chair councillor Geoffrey Bowden said: “The council and the University have built up a considerable amount of expertise about these famous buildings over the years which we now want to put to good use to guide future work.

“The proposed Heritage Partnership Agreement will be a great way of pooling resources and it will enable the University of Sussex to plan strategically for work that will have automatic consent. It will save having to make separate applications to the planning authority for minor works and it will save resources at the council, too.”

Charles Dudley, Director of Residential and Campus Services, said: “We have been working with English Heritage and BHCC over the past year and are pleased to be making an agreement for us to be able to improve facilities within the listed buildings in a more timely and efficient manner.”

The University of Sussex’s distinctive campus was designed by Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s and includes eight grade 1 and grade II* listed buildings.  They have many common design features, such as flat roofs, red brick and concrete arches.

There would be a period of public consultation if the Partnership Agreement is endorsed by the committee. The proposal is that it should run for 10 years, subject to periodic review.

Further information

In making this proposal Brighton & Hove City Council is using new powers created in 2014 giving councils the right to form Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements to manage alterations to major listed buildings or groups of listed buildings in the same ownership.

University of Sussex facts

  • In 1911 a public meeting at the Royal Pavilion started a fund for the establishment of a university in Brighton but the project was halted by World War 1 and the money spent on books for the municipal college
  • Part of the University of Sussex was built on the Stanmer estate
  • The University of Sussex, designed by Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s, was the first of seven new post war universities in the country
  • Ten of the university’s original buildings have been listed, nine at grade II* and Falmer House at grade I
  • They were the first 1960s buildings in the country to be listed in 1993
  • The circular meeting house has a jigsaw-like skin of coloured glass panes and white rendered concrete
  • Falmer House is one of only two educational buildings in the UK to be Grade I listed in recognition of its exceptional interest
  • Viscount Monckton of Brenchley was the University of Sussex’s first chancellor – he was also Edward VIII’s adviser during the abdication crisis
  • Other famous chancellors and vice-chancellors are historian Lord Asa Briggs, Lord Attenborough and writer and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE
  • Well-known alumni include Brendan Foster and Virginia Wade

Find out more about the University of Sussex

Read the reports for the Economic Development & Culture Committee (The Listed Buildings Heritage Partnership Agreement is Agenda Item number 56)