Royal Alexandra Hospital site - NEW PLANNING APPLICATIONS

New planning application submitted does not have a GPs surgery

CMPCA meeting urges inclusion of surgery in latest plans for the Royal Alex site

At a well-attended community meeting on 23 November, residents expressed strong views about the need to include a surgery in the most likely contender of the two planning applications that Taylor Wimpey are submitting to the council, proposal BH2010/03379, that retains the main hospital building.

In a constructive discussion, Dr Marshall-Andrews explained that the Montpelier Surgery’s building was failing the needs of all but the most sprightly of its 6000 patients. She and Chris Naylor from the Primary Care Trust also explained that alternative premises - including those suggested by Councillor Jason Kitcat – had been thoroughly researched, but none were suitable and a purpose-built surgery in the re-developed Alex site was the strongly preferred option. It was also made clear that the company that had designed the earlier surgery proposals with Taylor Wimpey had done so at its own risk and had not received NHS funding, nor was the surgery obliged to use this company in the future. The doctors expressed their strong commitment to remaining in the area. Although the surgery is not in imminent danger of closing they cannot continue indefinitely where they are now.

It became clear at the meeting that a scaled-down surgery proposal (450 sq metres), without a pharmacy, could be the way forward.   Councillor Kitcat advises that since the meeting, there have been 'positive initial indications from all parties', but also advises that  a message from you (see below) will help convince Taylor Wimpey that there is a consensus behind this approach and that they should modify their proposal BH2010/03379 .  

If you agree with this approach, you might like to write to David Brown, Taylor Wimpey David.J.Brown@taylorwimpey.com,  members of the Planning Committee c/o Jane Clark jane.clarke@brighton-hove.gov.uk, and copy to Jo Thompson and Guy Everest, Brighton & Hove City Council planners: jo.thompson@brighton-hove.gov.uk and guy.everest@brighton-hove.gov.uk as suggested below:
 

Dear David Brown and Members of the Planning Committee. 

I am writing to ask that you urgently modify the Taylor Wimpey proposals for the old Royal Alex Children's hospital site.  

I believe that with the addition of a GP surgery to the conversion plans (BH2010/03379) you will be able to win strong support from the community and your plans would be viewed much more positively by the council.  

The Montpelier Surgery and Brighton & Hove NHS Primary Care Trust have both indicated their willingness to be flexible over requirements for a new GP surgery. Rather than the large facility and pharmacy proposed in the demolition plans, something smaller should be considered. No pharmacy but a surgery of about 450 square metres in the new build portion of the conversion scheme.  

This addition would meet the needs of the community, provide a new home for the Montpelier surgery, and keep a medical use on the site of a once great hospital. I strongly urge you to amend your conversion plans (BH2010/03379).  

Without the addition of the GP surgery to the conversion plans I am likely to object to both plans for failing to meet the needs of the community.  

Yours sincerely,
XXXXXX  

PS Ms Clarke, please circulate to all members of the planning committee.

Background

 Taylor Wimpey has submitted two new planning applications (BH2010/03379 and BH2010/03380) to develop the Royal Alexandra Hospital site. They are based on the two proposals that were displayed in Hove Town Hall in August and will probably reach planning committee in late February 2011, the displays for these can be viewed below.   The first displayed scheme included the conversion of a retained main building and provided 118 apartments with 100% private market housing and no GP’s surgery. The application submitted includes around 15% affordable housing, but still no surgery. The second scheme is all new build and provides 138 apartments, of which 40% (54) would be affordable, plus a GP’s surgery and a pharmacy.   The main change in the new build element (in both proposals) is the inclusion of a 3 / 4 storey block E/F across the centre of the site at its highest point which has severe implications for its Clifton Hill neighbours.  

Only the proposal that retains the original building is likely to gain support as this was effectively required by the Council’s March 2010 Planning Brief. Taylor Wimpey bought the site for a sum that clearly suggests that they believed that total demolition would be permitted and this has resulted in stark choices having to be made.   The challenge ahead for residents, officials and councillors is to find an acceptable solution which includes the retention of the main building and a (scaled down) new GP’s surgery (unfortunately possibly at the expense of some affordable housing), all without adversely affecting residents living closest to the site.

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This page was added on 29/11/2010.

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