With the ‘urgent’ need for housing, Shoreham-by-Sea has become a building site. The developments on the Western Harbour Arm and the riverside make themselves known by their size and they surround the historic town centre.

Within the town there are two new prospective developments in the conservation area itself: a redevelopment of Chantry House on East Street and the area behind it, and a new development on Ham Road, described as a ‘companion’ to the old Burrell Hotel. What is the impact on the historic built environment of these two proposals?

Chantry House

There is a new planning application for this site on East Street and New Road in the centre of Shoreham and its conservation area.

Chantry House (formerly the HSBC bank) and the land behind it is an interesting proposition. How do you fit 6 houses and three flats into what one thinks is a small space in the heart of town? The developers intend to “retain the historic buildings to both frontages in East Street and New Road, which are to be converted, partially extended, and fully refurbished”.

You would have to judge for yourself, but it seems that the developers have been careful to minimise the impact on the conservation area and have utilised the space for the current housing needs by taking down garages and sympathetically extending the rear of existing buildings.

The East Street (upper) and New Road (lower) elevations of the proposed re-development of existing buildings

Is this an example of ‘good’ conservation in a conservation area? What do you think? You can view the planning application AWDM/1419/23 on the Council’s website.

Perkins & Robins Garage

Another recent planning application proposes to demolish the Perkins & Robins garage on Ham Road and replace it with a modern five-storey development of flats and shops. It is adjacent to the building that was once a hotel and has the recently opened Wild Lemon restaurant on the ground floor.

The original Burrell Arms Hotel was built to cater for the tourism generated by the introduction of the railway. It was the first building to greet you as you alighted the train. It was built to make a statement on Brunswick Road, a main throughfare. Perkins & Robins garage was the coach house for the hotel and over time became a garage as the motorcar became common. It is not hard to visualise it as would have been in the 1870’s.

The re-development of the hotel into flats (William de Braose House) and a restaurant did not make much difference to the streetscape of Brunswick Road and Ham Road a century ago. It was a case of a building being repurposed to meet the needs of a growing town.

The proposal to build six flats and 2 ground floor retail spaces in a ‘companion’ building marginally higher than the original Burrell Hotel would, in our opinion, dramatically change the sense of character in that part of the conservation area, particularly as it would overshadow the station, itself a building of note.

The proposed elevation of the new development on the north side of Ham Road on the current site of Perkins & Robins garage

It is interesting to note that on the north side of Ham Road recent developments, Caxton House (originally a Victorian school) and a pair of semi-detached cottages, made every effort to keep the streetscape. Whereas the developers of Perkins & Robins Garage have proposed what they describe as a “contemporary” architectural treatment for the site. The planning application is AWDM/1936/22.

What do you think?

Both developments are radical, one in terms of space, the other in terms of design and impact. And critically, both are within the Shoreham-by-Sea town centre conservation area. But what constitutes good or bad conservation when developing within a conservation area?

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Last modified: November 22, 2023