Hove Gardens project gets go-ahead from Planning Inspector

iFirst Published: 7 Feb 2019   Updated: 22 Dec 2020    5 Comments

Matsim have won their appeal against the Council’s July 2017 refusal of their Hove Gardens Project. At the end of January 2019, the government’s Planning Inspector approved the high density redevelopment of the former Furniture Village warehouse. The proposal is to provide 186 apartments, 1,300 sqm of offices and 230 sqm of shops. If the project does not get off the ground within three years the approval ceases to be valid.

Hove Gardens compared to old Furniture Village site

Hove Gardens will transform one of the most run-down areas of Hove

before-after comparisons - Conway street pedestrianised

From Fonthill Road east, a re-surfaced Conway Street will be landscaped, lined with shops and offices and ‘traffic calmed ‘ to make a pedestrian/cycle friendly walkway leading to the substantially improved steps up to Goldstone Villas.

Matsim Hove Gardens Conway Street refurbishment plan
Click image to enlarge the Public Realm Plan (February 2017)

Why do we (the Forum) support Hove Gardens?

The Forum supported Matsim at the appeal for the same reasons we supported the original application (link).  Even though our emerging Neighbourhood Plan (NP) has a higher target of 40% ‘affordable’ units, our view was that for this unique project a significantly lower level is acceptable for several reasons:

  • It would ‘kickstart’ the regeneration of the Conway Street area and be a massive step towards the development of the new Hove Station Quarter envisaged in the Neighbourhood Plan
  • This is a unique project – not a precedent. The Neighbourhood Plan will require subsequent phases in the Conway Street redevelopment to deliver much higher proportions of affordable housing – not least on council owned land
  • The improved streetscape will be welcomed by Clarendon-Ellen estate residents and people walking through the area to the Station from Poets Corner
  • The Section 106 agreement will bring developer funding to improve the Honeycroft Centre/Vallance Community
  • Matsim’s alternative of refurbishing the big shed would be entirely the wrong use for this key site next to the station

Why has Hove Gardens been approved by the council?

This support for the views of the local community has convincingly demonstrated that a Neighbourhood Plan can influence the major decisions which affect our area. In approving the project the Inspector agreed with the Forum’s key arguments:

….being the first scheme to come forward I acknowledge that the proposed development could in effect kick-start this process of the wider regeneration of this area..’ and‘…would result in an improvement to the character and appearance of the area against the existing situation. I attach considerable weight and importance to these benefits’ 

Planning Inspector
Hove Gardens project gets go-ahead from Planning Inspector

The Planning Committee turned it down for one reason only – a deficit of 12 ‘affordable’ homes. The project provided only 35 ‘affordable’ housing units (19%) whereas their independent valuation expert told them that it could provide 47 (25%). They thought Matsim would soon revise the scheme to close this gap, rather than appeal. But Matsim made a ‘Plan B’: they secured planning approvals for 40,000 sqm offices and then appealed. 

‘Plan B’ significantly increased the value of the site and therefore land costs, alongside increased construction costs. These increased costs were only partially offset by an increase in the estimated sales figures due to house price rises since July 2017.  

Thus, the Inspector agreed with Matsim that the Hove Gardens project was now only viable with 19 affordable units – 10%.  But he did impose a ‘review mechanism’ to ensure additional ‘affordable’ units will be provided if actual costs and sales produce a surplus.

The Draft Neighbourhood Plan is nearly finished 🙂

Hove Gardens project gets go-ahead from Planning Inspector

After four years hard work we are now in the final stages of developing the Neighbourhood Plan which is focused on establishing a new Hove Station Quarter.

At our AGM in Rallli Hall on February 28th 2019, we will launch the legally required six weeks consultation on our Regulation 14 Consultation Draft Plan.

To ensure that everyone living and working in the Neighbourhood Area has a final opportunity to comment on the draft Plan we will publish the latest full version on our website along with a short summary. 

Paper copies of the summary will also be available at a series of public events in the period up to the school Easter holidays. The big event will be the eighth Have Your Say Day at St Barnabas Hall (Honeycroft) on Saturday March 23rd. We’re also running workshops on key NP issues, including Traffic & Parking, Housing & Developer Contributions; and our projects for each of the Community Hubs proposed in the Plan.

The Forum is now an important voice for the community. This influence will grow if you join in these events, bring a neighbour along and help increase Forum membership by getting family and friends to join, via our web-site at www.hovestationforum.co.uk.

6 Location

Conway St, Hove BN3 3LA, UK  Browse all articles by location →

5 thoughts on “Hove Gardens project gets go-ahead from Planning Inspector”

    • I know what you’re saying, Darren and I don’t expect there to be any bargain buys either.
      However, we do support this development which will not only provide much needed housing, but it will be a
      catalyst for much needed regeneration in this area.

        • Hi Darren.
          You raise an interesting point that we are going to address in greater detail soon. In brief: the Neighbourhood Plan is not allowed to contradict government policy. The Forum has to take a pragmatic and realistic approach to maximise affordable housing whilst also enabling much-needed developer contribution funds to kick-start regeneration.

          In the short term this has to be within the legal constraints of the current government definition of “80% market value”.

          Longer term, we’re shaping policies to maximise the provision of genuinely affordable social housing, in the later phases of the redevelopment of the Conway Street area, not least on council-owned land. More on this will be published in our FAQs section ( https://www.hovestationforum.co.uk/contact-us/faqs/) and Housing section ( https://www.hovestationforum.co.uk/housing/) and also our latest draft policies ( https://www.hovestationforum.co.uk/feature/plan-pt1-policies/)

  1. So are they now meeting with the % of affordable housing. There are many people on the housing register that are needing homes and these should be part of this development. Even if they make a % affordable will this fall within the LHA for hove. For example the LHA for a 2 bed in Brighton & Hove is £1001 pcm will this be the case as if its not then they are not affordable. And will not be classed as affordable.


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