ePetition - The Compulsory Purchase of Anston House

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ePetition details

The Compulsory Purchase of Anston House

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to to undertake the Compulsory Purchase of Anston House and the adjacent site on Preston Road, Brighton.

"Anston House has been derelict for over two decades and has been dubbed 'the ugliest building in Sussex'. The site adjacent has been empty for even longer, and has been used by fly-tippers as a dumping-ground, in addition to being the scene of a great deal of anti-social behaviour which has caused nuisance and upset to nearby neighbours.

"We are aware that there has been uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the site since the previous landowner went bankrupt rather than pay fines totalling tens of thousands of pounds for the illegal felling of protected trees after a benchmark prosecution by the council.

"There has been significant and commendable effort from officers in negotiating and exploring every option to try to make the landowner restore this site to public/commercial use without success. We now feel all avenues have been exhausted.

"So we are calling on the council to exercise its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to undertake a Compulsory Purchase Order on Anston House and the adjacent site, in order to return the site to use, and to create a landmark building at this important gateway to our city.

"We are aware that the potential cost to the tax payer of funding such a purchase means that a CPO is very much the route of last resort, but we feel that regrettably this is the point at which we find ourselves.

"Local residents feel very strongly that this site should be used to provide affordable homes, affordable workspace, and community facilities, including much-needed meeting space. Such a development would bring huge benefit to the local community, who have had to live alongside this derelict site and all the attendant anti-social behaviour it has attracted over the years.

"We urge the council to act now in securing a CPO to end the sorry saga of this benighted site."

This e-petition has been extended and will be received at the Council meeting on 27 January 2011, along with a paper petition before being referred to the Environment Cabinet Member Meeting on 10 March 2011.

This ePetition ran from 30/07/2010 to 13/01/2011 and has now finished.

129 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

The Cabinet Member for Environment gave the following response at his meeting on 10 March 2011:

"May I thank the residents who took time to sign this petition and refer them to the response sent on behalf of the freeholders to my last meeting.

I can assure residents that the development of this site, at a neighbourly scale, remains a top priority.

Significant progress has already been made on this site:

• Urban Splash has been appointed as development manager by the bank,
• A highly regarded architectural practice has been appointed following an architectural competition.
• Officers have met with this team regularly and proposals are being developed
• Our enforcement officer has served notices that require improvement to the condition of the office building and land by April 2012.

Given the long history of this site I am not complacent that we have yet resolved all the issues however I am advised that a compulsory purchase order would be premature, and unlikely to succeed at this time.

The work undertaken by the Council does give us a very strong basis for further action should that be required."


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