Gardens & wildlife

Ashdown Road Development

You may also like to read about Ashdown Road in 1891












The street's attraction

After some loss of amenity related to the use of

  • 11 home-made garages too near to several back gardens
  • a residential street as a car show room from 2007 to 2009

Ashdown Road has returned to being a very pleasant street.

To what do we owe its attractiveness? Take a look at the

Aerial view of site on Google Earth

You can trace Brighton's longest greenway by clicking and dragging on the Google Earth map. Trace the "green ribbon" to the jack-knife junction of Wakefield Road and Upper Lewes Road. Then hop across the busy A270 into the generous pool of greenspace (bounded by Park Crescent and Union Road) proceeding to The Level. Then continue past St Peter's Church and Gloucester Place into the Victoria Gardens. Alternatively, head in the opposite direction tracing the green vista to the north side of Roundhill Crescent. There is a similarly generous gap at the south end of D'Aubigny Road, which allows public views into Woodvale (a continuation of this long greenway) up to Tenanty Down and the ridge near the Race Course.

Happily, a similar gap at the S end of D'Aubigny Rd remains unfilled

Here is the gap between the terraces at the S end of Ashdown Road













Notice how the gaps between the terraces at the four corners of Ashdown Road continue Round Hill's longest green vista (some say this greenway starts in Old Steine) and facilitate long views into and out of the conservation area from public places, including Ashdown Road itself.

Some would have preferred the garden of 2 Ashdown Road to remain part of a spectacular greenway, as it was when the property was a laundry, but many people's homes result from infill.

This infill was facilitated by the laying of tarmac into a rear garden and the poor quality of the home-made garages put to uses which compromised the amenity of users of neighbouring gardens. As well as noise nuisance, concerns have also been expressed over the suitability and safety of the relatively insubstantial structures on the site. It is believed that the eleven garages, hastily patched in recent weeks, have been used to store fuel and flammable materials on a site where workers have regular smoking breaks.













In the Conservation Officer's words, With regard to the 11 garages, they may have been built post 1948, and therefore might have required planning permission.., but anyhow they are obviously over 4 years old and therefore have deemed consent if they were built without planning permission.

Hiding breaches of planning for four years becomes increasingly difficult as pressures on finite space grow. One cannot hide the traffic implications of having 11 inappropriately located garages in use behind the small terrace to the east of Ashdown Road. Round Hill (½ sq km in area; circa 1000 households; av 2.3 residents per household) already has double the average population density (at 4600 residents per square km) for that of a medium-sized city.

1891 and link to history page

History of the rear yard plot / garden at 2 Ashton Road

Click on numbers 2 and 10 Ashdown Road and you will find that both are then laundries located on part of the long greenway which makes up Round Hill's "green ribbons".

 Richmond Road    Richmond Road    
    rear gardens  vista  rear gardens    
1   2    
3   4    
5   6    
7   8    
9   8    
11   10    
13   12    
    rear gardens   vista  rear gardens    
 Roundhill Crescent    Roundhill Crescent    


No 2 Ashdown Road, a 2-storey property with a side extension over an underpass was sold by Oakley Property in May 2007.

"A rare opportunity to acquire a spacious 4 double bedroom end-of-terrace house with a yard workshop and 9 garages. There is an adjoining garage also available at additional cost."

The buyer of the property applied for planning permission BH2008/02170 while simultaneously renting the site to Raj Motors before the proposal came before the planning committee.

2 Ashdown Road Application BH2008/02170

5 units of accommodation where currently there is 1!

Conversion of the existing dwelling at 2 Ashdown Road Brighton to form 3 self-contained flats.

Demolition of 11 no. garages and erection of 2 new dwellings


The decision to let to the Car Sales company created some disruption and neighbours voiced several concerns about the use of their street and the 11 garages to the rear of 2 Ashdown Road:

Round Hill Reporter articles 2008-2009

Former laundry site used for car sales prior to being built on












Issue 33 September 2008 (Dave Guest) The Round Hill Reporter

Issue 34 December 2008 (Dave Guest) The Round Hill Reporter

Issue 35 March 2009 (Dave Guest) The Round Hill Reporter

Issue 37 September 2009 (Dave Guest) The Round Hill Reporter

2 Ashdown Road

 No 2 Ashdown Road, a 2-storey property with a side extension over an underpass was sold by Oakley Property in May 2007.

"A rare opportunity to acquire a spacious 4 double bedroom end-of-terrace house with a yard workshop and 9 garages. There is an adjoining garage also available at additional cost."


The property was rented to Raj Motors and for circa 2 years, both the yard within and an unreasonable amount of on-street space in Ashdown Road resembled a car show-room. Late in 2008, the City Council’s Planning Enforcement office confirmed that the company was acting without the required planning permission. An Enforcement Notice was served in March 2009 requiring the company to obtain official permission or seek a new location. By the end of July 2009, the site had been vacated and Raj Motors - still thriving as a business during a time of recession - re-located to Pelham Terrace on Lewes Road.

Round Hill from afar












As there was no CPZ then, the Council could not control on-street space through residents permits, though there was a regulation on the number of cars for sale which could be parked within a limited stretch of street. There were other reasons for Raj Motor's departure: i.e. a planning application to make different use of the site. There was a suspicion among some residents that the presence of Raj Motor's was acting as a lever for getting different use of the site approved.

Round Hill from afar













Planning application BH2008/02170 came before the planning committee on 25th November 2009 and permission was granted on 6th October 2010. 

The first developer did set about division of 2 Ashdown Road into three flats without building the two small sunken houses which the permission also covered.

However, the permission was not fully used until another buyer, Carr Developers of Eastbourne, purchased the remaining part and the space for constructing the two new houses in September 2013.

Conservation and Design Team's comment:
[Plans List: application number BH2008/02170 25th November 2009]

Existing site: 2 Ashdown Road is a Victorian 2 storey property, with side extension over an “underpass” leading to garages at the rear of the property. There is also a large part ground, part first floor extension at the rear of the property. The front of number 2 Ashdown Road is considered to be a typical terraced property, characteristic of the Round Hill Conservation Area, and Ashdown Road.

There are also a number of other “underpass” or integral garage type properties with vehicular access to the rear garden, within the Round Hill / Upper Lewes Road area. These properties include, but are not limited to, 47 Richmond Road, 56 Roundhill Crescent, plus 52, 55 and 57 Upper Lewes Road. There are substantial areas of gardens and small garaging areas in the areas between the buildings. In the Round Hill Conservation Area character statement, these are described as “Round Hill’s green ribbons” and although not visible from the wider street, their largely undeveloped character contributes positively to the overall character of the conservation area.

Proposals and their effect on the conservation area:

The plot of land behind number 2 Ashdown Road is previously developed, with a number of now derelict garages. There could be scope for a new, carefully designed building in this location, however the proposed new buildings are of a larger scale, in terms of height. Because of this height, the proposed building appears bulkier than the existing garages. There is also some concern that 3 dwellings in this small backlands site would be an overdevelopment of the area. A maximum of two, or preferably one new.



Green ribbons which are visible from public vantage points stand a greater chance of protection from infill. Land to the rear of 28 Crescent Road - another ex laundry site and drying field - has also had infill approved. However, this is not a reason for complacency. It would be nice to believe that The Round Hill Society's / local residents' representations have had some influence: e.g. Cats Creep applications, saving Richmond House from demolition, limiting the amount on the Carelet site from 33 flats in 2004 to 6 houses (even though the latter are three storeys tall and occupy a large footprint of the site).

Permission for BH2008/02170 was granted on 6th October 2010. The first developer carried out the division of the house into three flats, but not the construction of the two small sunken houses. Therefore permission for proposal BH2008/02170 was not fully used until Carr Developers of Eastbourne (a second developer) bought the site in September 2013.


Application BH2011/03818 for Approval of Details Reserved by Conditions asks The Council to approve/discharge planning conditions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 20 and 21. The latter are described in the Decision document relating to the successful application BH2008/02170. The supporting documents submitted with application BH2011/03818 attempt to show how the applicant proposes to meet the conditions.

Note that The Council lists applications for Discharge of Conditions for information only, as there is no legal requirement to publicise them. They are not for comment or consultation.


Having converted the existing dwelling to form 3 self contained flats, the first developer sold on the unused part of his 6th October 2010 permission  BH2008/02170 to erect two new dwellings in place of the 11 garages self-built (though not to a high standard) over many years on the green vista bounded by Ashdown Rd & parts of Richmond Rd and Roundhill Crescent.

Offers were invited "from £320,000" for both the land and full planning permission for two three bedroom detached eco homes of which one comes with a garage and the other with two off road parking spaces. The permission is due to run out on 6th October 2013. If work on the two houses has not commenced by then, then the developer (now Carr Developers of Eastbourne) would need to apply to Brighton and Hove City Council to extend the permission before proceeding with construction.

Carr Developers of Eastbourne (a second developer) bought the site in September 2013 and planned to start building two small sunken houses in October 2013.

Ashdown Road

Though glad to see the garages go, many residents felt that "five dwellings where there was one" puts too much pressure on an already densely populated area. 

Your views

"I'm astounded if the Council are even considering these new plans. As a resident in Ashdown Road I have been told that we are unable to change the existing timber single glazed sash for timber double glazed sash windows due to the 'street scene' and yet somehow these buildings are in keeping with a conservation area 'street scene'.

It makes me laugh. We don't get our recycling collected because the recycling van can't drive down the street. This development like the many others will create even more parking issues. That's even less space on the Ashdown Road, and no doubt the pavement in Ashdown Road which on the even side is used for parking. I'm bored with all of this, Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Department don't know what they're doing!" 

proposed dormer would spoil best public views of the Conservation Area

1) The dormer would not be in character of Round Hill as seen in many public views of the conservation area.

The proposed housing (2 x two bedrooms)

2) The proposed housing (2 x two bedrooms) is substantially different from the surrounding architecture and does not preserve or enhance the character of the Round Hill conservation area (HE6).

3) The aspect of the proposed housing units also represents a direct break with the Victorian street design of the area (The layout of Ashdown Road and the surrounding streets is shown on the 1882 OS map on page 46 of "From Rose Hill To Round Hill: a Brighton Community" Brighton Books Publishing ISBN 1-901454-08-8")

4) The proposed green roofs will not prevent the new architecture (i.e. rear elevations of the proposed houses) from being publicly visible from several vantage points in Woodvale (as shown in the picture above and the 'next-but-one' picture below). The proposed buildings would be detrimental to appreciation of the original street design. Note: the fine straight terrace of Richmond Road at the heart of the Round Hill Conservation Area.

Proposed garaging arrangements
proposed car port doubles up on unsightly garage and spoils the terrace

5) Proposed garaging arrangements spoil the look of the terrace. Archways (where there are underpasses within terraces) have been valued by the Council's Conservation and Design Department in the past as features adding character to the Round Hill conservation area (other archways in terraces are a] on south side of Round Hill Crescent and b] at 14 Wakefield Rd: Fern Villa). However, the current proposal is to convert the '2 Ashdown Road' archway into a car-port, which would effectively plant two unsightly garages at the end of terrace (Ashdown Road NE) - the ends of terraces in other Round Hill streets are visually attractive: missed opportunity to enhance by doing away with the existing garage adjacent to the footway, and extra car-port would further spoil the terrace, doubling up on an earlier mistake.

Overdevelopment / Cramming / Overlooking

6) Overdevelopment: five units of accommodation are proposed where there is currently one unit. Converting the existing house into three flats (i.e. three units instead of one) might be a reasonable proposition if the existing 11 garages were demolished and the backland/yard area were returned to garden. However, with two 2-bedroom houses in addition (five units of accommodation), this is clearly overdevelopment - the street infrastructure of Ashdown Road (which is already under so much pressure that Cityclean's recycling vehicle cannot offer collections) won't support it. 

Sample letter of objection (summer 2008)

The proposal BH2008/02170 was to convert the house into three flats and build three new houses in the land to the rear, currently occupied by disused garages and workshops.

Dear Ms Brocklebank


I write concerning the above Planning Application for this location in the Round Hill Conservation Area. Unless otherwise stated, references in brackets relate to the relevant section of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.

I believe it is proposed to replace what is at present one family house with eleven garages at the rear with 3 flats (house conversion) and 3 further houses where the garages now stand. In such a sensitive area I find this totally unacceptable for the following reasons:

The designs do not respect the landscape
The proposed designs include only the minimum of landscaping as so many units are arranged in such a small plot (QD1).

The proposed housing is substantially different from the surrounding architecture and does not preserve or enhance the character of the Roundhill Conservation Area (HE 6).

Furthermore, the creation of 3 flats in 2 Ashdown Road is out of keeping with the rest of the street where, as far as I am aware, there are no other flats, only family houses.

The designs do not emphasise or enhance the positive qualities of the local neighbourhood and do not respect local characteristics such as the surrounding Victorian premises with their generous sash windows, sloping roofs and moulded chimney pots. The proposed designs are out of step with this landscape and make an unattractive contrast (QD 2).

The outdoor amenity space for residents in the proposed houses is inadequate
There is very little space around the proposed dwellings to allow for outdoor amenity (HO4a) since the applicant has attempted to fit so many large buildings into too small a plot. In my view this makes the designs unsuitable for families.
The extra houses also lack a street frontage.

Proximity to existing housing
The proposed development is liable to cause nuisance and loss of visual amenity to residents in nearby properties (QD27).
The widely accepted minimum distance required to prevent overlooking from facing windows is 22metres but the proposed designs fall far short of this with windows to the south of the proposed units separated by substantially less distance from existing buildings in Ashdown Road.

Inappropriate site for families with children
Not only does this proposed development seek to destroy a family house in favour of creating 3 flats but it also then proposes cramming 3 houses into the land behind, thus raising the issue of amenity space (as in point 2)

The site, furthermore, does not allow for access to recreational facilities for children in the new development as defined in SPG 6 (i.e. it is not within 100 metres safe walk of a designated play facility).

Inadequate provision for parking and vehicular access
The proposed development does not fulfil the demands for parking that it creates as there are no parking spaces in the development.

It does not meet the planning standards defined in SPG 4 (parking) and is likely to increase demand for on-street parking in Roundhill Crescent, Richmond Road and Ashdown Road. Ashdown Road, in particular, already suffers parking problems with vehicles reduced to parking on the pavement on one side of the narrow road.

Environmental Impact
The proposals do not include provision to dispose of construction waste on-site (SU13). This underlines the fact that proposed scale of development is out of proportion to the footprint of the property.

On balance, I believe that the proposed development will be detrimental to the character and well-being of a historic area of the city and is contrary to the policies set out in the Government’s planning guidance and the Brighton and Hove Local Plan.

I therefore urge you to recommend that the proposal be refused.

Yours sincerely

This page was last updated by Ted on 27-Mar-2019
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