Our neighbour's six-foot fence will ruin our sea view… we're absolutely furious at council – they must show backbone | The Sun

LOCALS are absolutely furious over plans for a six-foot fence that will ruin their sea view.

The exclusive private members club Soho House wants to erect wrought-iron gates at its beach club on Brighton seafront.

It sent in a detailed planning application to the council for a pair of two-metre tall Art Deco entrance gates between its upper deck buildings.

It also wants tall plants, deep planters and “spiky plants” to line the club’s boundary.

But neighbours are furious and claim the gates will block the idyllic sea view of the English Channel.

They say the gates will only benefit the “affluent few” who can afford the £2,750 membership fee.

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Residents claim the 10-metre gap between the two buildings gives visitors and locals a beautiful sea view which should be preserved for all.


Doug Allison, 76, who lives in the Van Alen Building opposite the proposed gates, said: “It’s outrageous and goes much, much further than the original plans for this development.

“Soho House has also put air vents and outlets onto the roofs of the two buildings which was also not in the plans. We’re not happy about it.”

Mr Allison, a retired businessman who bought his property eight years ago, added: “I think the city planners need to keep a tight rein on Soho House.”

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At the height of their fame, The Spice Girls’ Emma Bunton – Baby Spice – lived in a penthouse flat in the Van Alen Buildings but sold up and left some years ago.

Brighton Beach House, located in a Grade II-listed terrace, is the first Soho House venue to open in Sussex. The company runs 41 clubs worldwide.

Members who can pay up to £1,300 per year for access if they are under 27, or £2,750 if they are older.

On the initial planning applications for the private members club one of the conditions made by the council was the preservation of the 10-metre gap.

It read: “A visual gap of ten metres shall be permanently maintained between the two permitted built structures on the upper tier level. The gap must remain permanently free of any visual obstruction.”

Another resident, who is disabled, bought her ground floor apartment two years ago and is livid about the plans.

She said: “When I bought my seafront property I checked all the planning applications and there was absolutely nothing like this on the cards.

“My ground floor apartment is directly opposite the gap and it has a lovely sea view. I have spent around £200,000 adapting the apartment to suit my mobility needs.

“The last thing I want to see is huge ornate gates placed over my sea view. I’m furious about it.”


Gerry Merritt, 64, a builder, said: “There has been all sorts of ‘mission creep’ on this development and still it continues.

“Soho House have put all sorts of junk on the roofs of the building like a chimney for a pizza oven, boiler outlets and air in-take units. It looks a complete mess if you’re looking down on it.”

Mr Merritt said: “They clearly want to add the eight-foot high gates and plants to obscure their members from the street but by doing that they go against what the planners gave them permission for.

“The city council planners need to show some backbone. The view doesn’t just benefit residents living opposite, it is for everyone to enjoy, and closing it off would deprive everyone.”

Elaine Craig, who lives in nearby Camelford Street, branded the private members club “elitist” and called on the council to reject the application.

She said: “Make no mistake Soho House is expensive and is elitist. We have a Labour-controlled council and councillors should prove they believe in equality by rejecting this application.  

“People are getting quite angry about this as they as there will be further encroachments and intrusions into the terms of the original planning application and we’re just not going to stand for it.”

Rupert Barker, a TV producer, said: “Everyone is worried that if this is allowed to go ahead then what next? We’ve been assured there are no plans for any further gates or fencing but we’re not entirely confident.”

Objectors to the gates aired their concerns online with one resident saying: “This is not what Labour and the residents in this city support which was evident in local elections. Let's tackle inequalities together.”

Another added: “The beauty of the seafront is to be able to stroll and look out to sea, not their fence, which is giving their paying private member clients a lovely vista whilst taking away the view from everyone else.

“The sea front should be protected as a valuable part of Brighton's heritage and not for sale to the highest bidder.”

A spokesman for Soho House assured the proposed gates and railing will actually “preserve” Brighton's iconic sea view. 

A spokeswoman for Soho House said: “Most of our members live locally and working in partnership with the community is important to us.

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“The proposed installation of the ornate slim metal profile gates and railing will preserve the sea view from Marine Parade.”

It comes as locals living at the UK's "best seaside town" claimed the area was actually "a dump".

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