Success in Brighton after dismissal of Legal Challenge

Client: Fairfax Acquisitions Ltd

LPA: Brighton & Hove City Council

A third party had challenged the grant of planning permission however this has recently been dismissed by the High Court meaning that the project can now move forward.

St Aubyns was a private boarding school which closed in 2013. The school was housed within Field House, a Grade II listed building, and a number of other buildings which were all curtilage listed. One of these curtilage listed buildings was a Chapel that contained a memorial to former pupils killed in the First World War which included Rudyard Kipling’s son, Jack. All of the school buildings fell within the Rottingdean Conservation Area which was separated from the former playing fields by an existing public footpath. The site was also immediately adjacent to an Air Quality Management Area.

The proposals involved the retention and residential conversion of Field House and other buildings of identified heritage value and redevelopment to provide a total of 93 new homes across the previously developed part of the site and on approximately 40% of the former playing fields. The proposals will deliver a number of significant of benefits including the restoration and safeguarding of important heritage assets, provision of 40% affordable housing and securing the public use of approximately 1.4Ha of the former playing fields which were previously private.

The application achieved a positive resolution at Brighton and Hove City Council’s October 2018 Planning Committee with planning permission being granted in February 2019. Shortly after, however, this decision was challenged by a third party on the basis that the Planning Committee had been misled by officers on heritage grounds, namely that officers had not properly applied policy in respect to harm caused to the Conservation Area and Field House by development on the playing field.

In handing down his judgement in October 2019 Sir Duncan Ouseley concluded that when read as a whole and the significant benefit of securing Field House in the long term and other heritage benefits, the officers report had not misled Members as overall there would be no heritage harm caused by the proposals. As a result the challenge was dismissed. After 5 years in the making, the exciting proposals for the site can now proceed which we consider to be of great benefit to the local community.

Key Contact

The senior team member overseeing all aspects of this project.

Philip Allin


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