Building on Signalman Garden – objections pouring in

The Signalman gardnen
The Signalman garden on a Wednesday afternoon

Now the news is out that the owners of The Signalman garden plan to build on it, objections are pouring in – at the time of writing well over 150 have commented. People around the area are expressing their love of this community space that is welcoming to all, and concerns about the impact building flats on it.  These include undermining the community spirit, character and well being of the neighbourhood by removing its only communal open space. In addition concerns are expressed about potential noise and nuisance impacts on immediate neighbours to the pub if its outdoor space is relocated. Around 50 people filled the garden on Wednesday afternoon to show The Argus just how popular it is. The Argus story is published today, currently the most read and recieving supportive comments.  If you haven’t added your comments on the planning proposal, please do here.

Drara dismayed at threat to The Signalman garden

20170502_162518 (800x800)At the Drara meeting last week everyone was dismayed at the proposal by Inn Brighton Properties Ltd, owners of The Signalman, our neighbourhood pub, to build on the garden.

The pub is the only communal space in the neighbourhood, and the garden unique for being on an open, sunny corner, therefore having no direct noise or light impact on neighbours. It is well used by long term residents and visitors – popular with families, as an after work pub and a meeting place for friends and neighbours.  In addition sheltered booths mean the garden is in use year round. We were stunned by the claim of the planning application that this is a ‘disused’ former garden. The garden  is one of the pubs best assets, and must be kept as an important outdoor space for everyon to relax.

The stated ethos of The Laine Pub Company, the dominant operator in Brighton, which owns both the Open House and The Signalman is that it “views its pubs as ‘third places’ where customers can invest loyalty, emotion and time in an original and comfortable environment. The company’s cultural and ecological ethos underpins its commercial objectives, ensuring that its pubs remain relevant and central to the communities in which they operate.” (from their LinkedIn profile)

Building on this garden would damage the vibrancy and health of the neighbourhood for many reasons including:

  • Putting homes next to the pub will create a noise problem where there isn’t one currently.
  • There is no other suitable site for the garden/smoking area? If it is the street there would be a huge impact on Ditchling Rise. If the currently disused yard at the rear of the pub (recently fitted with rather nasty, intrusive lighting and currently subject to a planning application for access from the pub – hmmm..) numerous homes in Warleigh Road and Shaftesbury Road that back onto this area would suffer noise, smoke and light nuisance as well as overlooking.
  • Loss of the garden would very likely impact business at the pub.
  • This area has no community hall or meeting place and we do not want to lose the only place in the area where we can get together and meet people.
  • Concerns have also been raised to BHCC planners that there has been no public notifcation of this proposal

In addition

  • As the original Railway Hotel The Signalman has a direct link to the locally listed London Road Station – the integrity of which would be undermined by the addition of flats with glass balustrades
  • Many residents have raised concerns about increased pressure on area amenities, in particular parking
  • The area is loosing the green space on the other side of the station, next to the Open House, to housing develpment, causing concern about future noise problems there as well as loss of greenery, and cannot bear the disappearance of yet more ‘breathing space’.

Drara have contacted local councillors who are requesting this goes to the planing committee. If  you want to keep our garden we  encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to comment on the planning applications here:

Development of ‘former beer garden’ into flats – Application number: BH2017/00829

Installation of staircase to rear yard – Application number: BH2017/00920

The Signalman – Flats proposed in place of beer garden

siggygarden.jpg largeOwners of our neighbourhood pub submitted two planning applications for the alteration of the premises in March.

Development of ‘former beer garden’ into flatsApplication number: BH2017/00829
On March 9th a planning application was submitted by Inn Brighton Properties Ltd to erect a 3 storey building containing 3 two bedroom flats on what the application states is the ‘former beer garden of The Signalman public house, now disused.’ To date objections have been submitted by immediate neighbours of the pub who have been consulted, stating their concerns about overlooking, loss of light, loss a rare community open space in the area and detrimental impact on adjoining in buildings. In addition they express surprise, as do we, that it is claimed to be a ‘former’ pub garden.
This application is due for decision on May 22nd

Installation of staircase to rear yard – Application number: BH2017/00920
On March 16th an application to replace a window at the back of the pub and add a door and staircase to the yard was submitted. Reasons given for this are to provide an escape in event of emergency and to provide better access to the manager’s accommodation which can currently only be accessed through the front door of the pub. The application20170502_162454 (800x800) states this will have no impact on the amenity of neighbours to the rear of the pub. Neighbouring residents whose homes back on to the pub think it could potentially have a major impact on them. For details of the plans and comments so far see:
The application is due for a decision on May 15th.

Taking the two applications together, some of those who have commented to date suspect the rear yard of the pub, currently used for occasional storage, could be turned into the pubs smoking area/garden. If this is the case, given it is an enclosed area surrounded by walls and adjacent to gardens and windows of residents it could potentially cause significant nuisance problems from light and noise pollution, smoke (cigarette and the pub is know for bbqs) and overlooking.

Immediate neighbours were notified of these applications, but it has only just come to the attention of members of the Drara committee.

This is on the agenda for Drara meeting on May 3rd.

To comment on these applications follow the links above.

For anyone on Facebook – Join the ‘Save The Signalman Garden’ group.

Rose Hill Tavern to be Reinvented

Rose Hill Tavern currently closedWhile not quite in our neighbourhood, for many years the Rosehill Tavern was a popular pub used by many of the community. Over recent years the revamping of our more local locals and ongoing reinvention of London Road left the Rosehill, which is tucked away from frequent footfall, a bit behind. However it was always a boozer of character – so much so that the campaign to save it ensured it was designated as an Asset of Community Value. A crowdfunder by local campaigners just fell short of its target to buy the pub. However, now it looks like that value has been realised as it has been saved from conversion into flats.

Today’s local press report it has finally found buyers – who want to run it as a community arts centre. Given its location tucked into a residential area, there may be concerns about noise from activity – but its been a pub for many years – and was on the itinerary of the morris dancers – so hopefully the licensing process will manage any concerns. We look forward to seeing a newly revived Rose Hill soon.

Road resurfacing Ditchling Rise

Following enquiries about ongoing resurfacing work at the junction of Ditchling Rise Temporary road surface on Ditchling Riseand Shaftesbury Place Principal Transport Planner at BHCC Abby Hone has provided Drara an update:

The surface treatment at Ditchling Rise/Shaftesbury Place has been undertaken with the aim of increasing awareness of the junction area, increasing legibility and potentially reducing traffic speed.  The works were delayed from last year to co-ordinate the surface treatment with scheduled maintenance works at this section of Ditchling Rise.  The surface dressing being used was chosen for its durability – the same product has been used at Church Street/Jubilee Street/New Road junction where HGVs turn in daily to deliver to Tesco Express – as drays service The Signalman regularly and anecdotally this section of road sees  high usage for a residential street.

In the first application of the surfacing, the resin failed due to the length of time the new surface underneath had been in place and the contractor was instructed to remedy the matter.  The surface was planed out and the contractors planed too deep, leaving ruts in the surface.  When the dressing was applied this failed again.  The area was inspected by the Senior Engineer involved, to see if a full resurface would address the issues. The engineer advised this is not necessary and and is inspecting the surface preparation before a different type of surface dressing is applied.  According to the supplier of the original surface dressing used, while it is the most hard-wearing, the product was unable to set properly due to the topography of the site.

We are assured that all remedial works are at the cost of the contractor.  Abby is very keen to ensure that any work is installed to a high standard from the off-set, particularly taking into account that funds used are applied for and often hard won – these works need to last with minimal future maintenance cost.

The resurfacing works are part of a programme of measures agreed with representatives of Drara.  (Other items included the cycle wheeling ramps over the footbridge, tidying up street tree pits and pedestrian wayfinding minilith.) All measures were funded by the LSTF 2011-14 project

Preston Circus pavement space

mixed use pavement at Preston Circus
Mixed use at Preston Circus

At our September meeting some residents raised concern at the amount of space left for pedestrians and cyclists around the seating area now outside the Duke of Yorks cinema. DRARA has been asked to look into this as some consider easy movement of pedestrians, cycles and pushchairs is now restricted. The cinema has posted a council license in the notice board on the front of their building (to the left of main entrance), giving the dimensions the council have allowed them for their seating area. Posted on September 15th 2016, people have 28 days from that date to register any objections with the council about the new arrangement.  A sculptural planter is also being planned to go into the space in front of the Duke of Yorks, so this needs to be considered. At this point we don’t know if the council took the planter inoto consideration when granting the license for the tables and chairs is not known. Anyone who wants to comment should see the planning notice outside the cinema.

Rose Hill Tavern – who wants to own a pub?

Entertainment and dancing in the Rose Hill Tavern
Once a thriving community hub – Rose Hill Tavern

Save the Rose Hill Tavern – a group of volunteers who care about saving this pub that dates back to 1870 – are seeking support.  They want to hear from anyone who is interested in helping the campaign to create a community pub. The campaign has already won recognition of the Rose Hill Tavern as a ‘Community Asset’ but to truly protect it support and funds are needed.  The campaign has the support of our MP Caroline Lucas.

The group are launching a crowdfunder in August – where you can pledge to purchase shares – a great opportunity for wanna be landlords or anyone who wants to invest in a community asset. Any one with fond memories of the Rose Hill’s halcyon days, missing the annual St George’s Day Morris dancing or who just likes the idea of being part owner of a pub, a community asset and local venue for local people is asked to contact the campaign. 

You can soon pledge to purchase shares in The Rose Hill Tavern Community Pub, or offer some time or skills to help the campaign. Find the  Rose Hill Tavern campaign here.

Have Your Say in the future of the Rose Hill Tavern

rosehill April 23 flyerWhat should we do with the  distinct green tiled building that is the Rose Hill Tavern is the subject of a meeting at 7.30 tonight, at Calvary Church, convened by Save the Rose Hill. It’s been designated an asset of community value, is up for sale and there is an opportunity to create a community pub in the area. Warren Carter of The Bevvy  will be speaking on how their community pub came about.

Rose Hill Tavern for sale

Rose Hill Tavern BrightonFollowing a campaign to  keep  the 144 year old  Rose Hill Tavern as a pub, planning permission to convert it into flats as been refused. Current owners have now put the pub back on the market. The pub has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV), meaning now it is up for sale, the community has six months to raise enough money to buy it and realise hopes of turning it into a community pub.