Council decision upheld as Marina planning appeal dismissed

The council has successfully fought off an appeal made by the Outer Harbour Development Partnership for a proposed development at the Brighton Marina outer harbour area.

In a decision released on 11 November, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities dismissed the appeal and upheld the council’s decision to refuse the scheme.

Developers originally lodged an appeal against the council’s failure to decide the application within the government’s target period.

A local public inquiry took place in March and April this year.

Plans for Brighton Marina Outer Harbour included nearly 1,000 homes in 9 tall buildings (3 up to 28 storeys, and 6 up to 19 storeys), more than 1,500 sqm of flexible commercial floor space, car and cycle parking; landscaping, public space and work to the harbour wall.

Council planning officers raised many concerns about the proposed scheme, and the planning committee refused it on the grounds of overdevelopment, poor design, layout and public space. In particular, the council was concerned about the living conditions that would be offered to residents, with lack of light, communal space and play areas. 

Commenting on this aspect, the planning inspector said: “The fact that there may be people willing to live in substandard accommodation clearly cannot be used as an excuse to build housing with poor living conditions – this is not the aim of the planning system.” 

The proposed scheme offered affordable housing at a rate of, at most, 12.6%, less than half of the policy recommendation of 40%, and did not fit in with the seafront location and nearby historic buildings, or the setting of the National Park.

Brighton & Hove has a number of key policies to guide developers on providing the right buildings in the right place – these include the Urban Design Framework and the City Plan Part 2.

Councillor Leo Littman, chair of Brighton & Hove’s planning committee, said: 

“I am delighted that the case presented by the council’s planning team was persuasive. A lot of officers worked long and hard on this, and it’s great to see that the Inspector recognised that the need for housing in the city does not mean developers can simply build whatever they want, wherever they want.  

“This case illustrates the just how vitally importance our local planning policies are.

“They ensure new buildings are well-designed and provide a quality environment for people to live, work, and relax in, now and into the future.

“Our planning team will continue to work constructively with developers to bring forward plans that make a positive contribution to the city and meet the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors alike.”

Read the decision letter and the Planning Inspector’s report on the website.

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