Alternatives: a holistic vision for the area in line with the City plan
In line with the Brighton and Hove City Plan Part 1, which calls for a mix of 85+ homes and light industrial usage, we support the concept of this site being used to free up land for much-needed housing, commercial and amenity space, provided it can be achieved without any risk of harm to our communities or environment. We want this site to be used to benefit the local and city communities by providing a people-friendly, planet-friendly, place for local people to live and work and enhance our reputation as an attractive venue and holiday destination.
We are very aware of the risks of excavating this contaminated site, potentially containing buried toxins that could impact the health and well-being of the public living and working in the area, operatives working on the site and visitors to our City, in addition to the environment.
Due to the risk of encountering highly toxic "hot spots" in potentially un-known locations on the site, we are calling for a solution that avoids disturbing the soil and ensures that no contamination will cause harm to the public or the environment.
We believe that Brighton deserves better than the high rise, high density, soul-less, mass-developments that have emerged elsewhere in the City, and beyond.
High density, low rise
Inspired by alternative design ideas from Jeremy Mustoe of the Brighton Society, we carried out an experiment to compare high and low rise, high density configurations on a rectangular site. Here’s a link to the Brighton Society web page:
We used 50nr giant Jenga blocks (made from re-cycled roof truss components!), Each block is equivalent to two 2-bed homes (@ approx 77m2 each). We simulated a fairly high density of 175dph (dwellings per hectare) and marked out a trial site area scaled at 100m x 57m = 0.57ha.
We looked at various options for arranging 50 Jenga blocks, or 100 x 2-bed homes.
We do not believe high rise options to be appropriate for this site, due to their visual impact, well-being and social issues, structural issues in relation to the nature of this former Gasworks site, fire safety issues and the additional construction and maintenance costs per m2.
We looked at a number of different configurations, up to 4-storeys high, in courtyard, long terrace and short terrace options, in addition to some "hybrid" options.
Jenga block: One 17 storey block @ 175dph
Low-rise delivering the same number of (jenga block) dwellings as the high-rise option @ 175dph
For the Brighton Gasworks Site, the configuration would be dependent on a large number of factors, including which areas of the site may be built on, what excavation may be carried out, the mix of housing, commercial, retail, community, hard and soft landscaped public open areas, orientation to suit sunlight, views, housing mix, access, etc.
We feel there should be a Community's concept indicating how the site could be built on and we intend to develop these ideas, taking in to account the site's opportunities and constraints.
Keep looking on this website to keep up to date!
Construction methods & toxicity
We are proposing an option for developing the site without excavating or disturbing contaminated soil by using structures that could use pad or raft foundations.
We understand that these may be practical for buildings up to approximately 4-storeys high or solutions using MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) including volumetric units manufactured off site.
We are very aware of the impending global climate crisis and support Brighton and Hove's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.
As a result, we expect to see features such as zero carbon or negative carbon technology and use of renewable energy sources, passive heating/cooling, and embracing the Circular Economy and the "20 minute neighbourhood" principles.
Other neighbourhoods have successfully done it!
Marmalade Lane in Cambridge and Goldsmith Street are just two of many communities that have successfully been created through better development. We will continue to add to this page and there is much more to say about creating real communities with sustainable and well thought out development.