- what we should be asking
You wouldn't buy a car without looking into its make, so why
sell a chunk of the Ouse without knowing something about developers?
Selma Montford of the Brighton Society is that town’s
best-known foe of demolitions and skyscrapers. Here she gives
pointers to anyone looking at a new planning application.
1) Find out what the development actually looks like. Developers
show narrow views, or views from above, and not what most people
will have to look at.
2) Demand to know the impact on surrounding buildings. A block
in isolation might look reasonable, but seen next to the tiny
neighbouring buildings, it could look totally unreasonable.
3) How will the buildings be used? Houses need schools, offices
need parking spaces. "Three eight-story buildings,"
Montford asks, "what are they for?" Of the 800 housing
units proposed for the Phoenix site, she says, "That’s
a whole dormitory town - a suburb!"
5) Beware of distractions. In Brighton developers show off sculptures
they will erect, though art accounts for a tiny part of the
development. Beware big name architects, designers and gardeners,
whose reputations can lend sparkle to bad plans.
6) Find out what the council gets from the developer. Using
something called a Section 106 Agreement, the council can force
a developer to provide amenities for the town. In other words,
any big development, by law, must have something in it for the
council. “Although this is legal,” says Montford,
"it is, in effect, litte more than a bribe." DB
Dancing in the streets: a fanciful
detail from the Phoenix proposal.
But why havenít we seen any detailed 3D plans?