Hove Gardens – Wins Appeal on Viability Grounds
A mixed use residential, office and retail scheme on a site, west of Hove Station and designed by LCE Architects for Matsim Properties Ltd, has secured Planning Consent after the appeal inspector decided it could not reasonably provide more affordable housing than offered.
LCE Architects have been involved with several schemes for rejuvenating an underdeveloped and pedestrian unfriendly part of central Hove. The current scheme looks to transform one urban block, (0.45hectres) between the bus depot and the Clarendon Road Estate, currently occupied by warehouses, into a modern ‘state of the art’ hub for businesses and high quality central living adjacent to Hove Station. The scheme provides 186 apartments, 1,317sq ms of office space, 228sq ms of street level retail space.
The key issue put before the appeals inspector was whether or not the scheme would make adequate provision for affordable housing, as it was the only reason for refusal. Policy in the city plan seeks 40 per cent affordable housing on sites of more than fifteen residential units in the light of a pressing need. Although the council had reduced this to 25 per cent for the appeal scheme the appellant, however, was only able to offer ten per cent, based on arguments concerning viability, alongside a legal agreement making provision for a review mechanism and potential uplift in payments.
The inspector considered conflicting evidence from the main parties on viability and arrived at the conclusion that the proposed development could support only a 10 per cent affordable housing contribution; overall accepting the appellant’s gross development value (GDV) and construction cost over that proffered by the District Valuation Service (DVS). In relation to the design, the Inspector upheld the view “that the significance of the heritage assets would be preserved” and was “satisfied that the proposed development would assimilate successfully into its surroundings”.
For further information please refer to the Planning Resources article.
Matsim Properties Ltd are considering their options for the site, including a potential sale of the site. LCE Architects hope to be involved in the future transformation and regeneration of this part of our City.
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