Mike Gibson Autumn 2015
Some twenty local residents participated in the inaugural meeting of the Stoneham Neighbourhood Planning Workshop, held at the Stoneham pub at the end of June. It was organized by the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum, the body authorized by Brighton and Hove City Council to prepare the Hove Station Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Mark Drayton, a community worker from the Trust for Developing Communities (and local resident) chaired the discussion.
The Hove Station NDP Co-ordinator, chartered town planner Professor Mike Gibson, explained that the purpose of the Workshop is to enable the residents and businesses in the part of the Neighbourhood Plan Area west of Sackville Road to be fully involved in the production of the NDP. This area is bounded by Sackville Road, the railway line, Portland Road and Bolsover Road.
The area is changing, and will continue to change, in the face of mounting development pressures, particularly the city’s need for new housing. The Gala Bingo site redevelopment and the proposed demolition of the YMCA building with the possible loss of community facilities have both been controversial issues. Development proposals are in the pipeline for the Westows site
The purpose of the NDP is enable local people to have the maximum possible influence on the large-scale redevelopment of the unused and underused sites immediately north and south of Hove Station (Development Area 6 in the City Plan) and on the smaller scale developments elsewhere within the NDP Area.
So the Forum’s Working Groups are identifying the issues raised by prospective redevelopment, including the type of housing (e.g. the height of apartment blocks and the balance between social housing and market housing), employment opportunities, the additional traffic that will be generated, the opportunity to improve shopping streets and the need for new community facilities for more than an additional 2000 residents. The neighbourhood planning policies which will emerge will have legal force and will have to be formally taken into account by BHCC planners when decisions are made on planning applications. The Neighbourhood Plan will have teeth !
The progress of the work on the Neighbourhood Plan will be the focus of a third Have Your Say Day in early November. The implications of continuing small scale redevelopment and the opportunities to improve the neighbourhood environment in area west of Sackville Road will be the focus of the second meeting of the Stoneham Neighbourhood Planning Workshop in late October. Details of both events will be posted on the Hove Station Forum web-site www.hovestationforum.co.uk
This article will be published by Sussex Magazines in October 2015