04 May 2015
A preview of possible plans for Regency Square. Click on dots for further images.
Our parents do things for which we have to forgive them and move on. It is the same with local authority planning departments. In both cases, they make decisions which seem to be right at the time but prove to be very wrong in the longer term. One such decision, for which we have to forgive Brighton Council, was to build a car park under Regency Square in 1968.
The entire central garden of this striking example of Regency architecture is now essentially a roof garden to a three-tier car park. The original gentle seaward slope has been terraced into three levels, each of which contains modern car park paraphernalia: the rather brutal 1960s railings; concrete walls; a layer of soil is so thin that the grass dries out every summer.
Nonetheless, the Regency Square garden remains a significant, even vital open space for local city dwellers, workers and visitors. Over the past years, local residents have spent both time and their own money making improvements - new benches and plants, and regular gardening sessions.
All this is, however, a drop in the ocean of what needs to be done. Many of us who live or have businesses in the Square care passionately about the space, despite of the 1960s desecration. We feel strongly that it should be restored to the appearance of a fine period garden, even though essential car park structures must remain.
Period railings and lamp standards surrounding expert landscaping that disguises the 20th century additions would create a complete transformation.
The coming of the i360 has provided the opportunity and a new impetus to achieve all this. The i360 contract specifies that some of the money from ticket sales will be used to improve and maintain the area surrounding the new attraction. That area includes Regency Square.
Discussions with the Council are ongoing. We have embarked on a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding. Moreover, we have a knight in shining armour supporting our cause in the form of Chelsea Flower Show winner and TV garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, who has provided three brilliant possible designs for Regency Square (see above).
The magnitude of what needs to be done, plus the years of uncertainty about the future of the West Pier site, has meant that Regency Square has not benefited from the sort of makeover that has transformed many of our city’s open spaces in recent years.
The i360 was sold to local people as the key to bringing new life to this part of the city. We want to make sure that one major part of that regeneration is a garden which significantly enhances the lives of local people and visitors - a garden that will form part of our city heritage for generations to come.
03 April 2013
Brighton and Hove City Council want to take away our black box recycling weekly collection and replace with on-street recycling bins. They have sent a consultation document to properties in our area enclosing a questionnaire for return by May 6.
We are in a Conservation Area. We already have the very unsightly black refuse bins. The Council now want to place black recycling bins in our squares and streets. The Council will not place the recycling bins in Brunswick Square and Adelaide Crescent because they are deemed to be Regency squares in a Conservation area. The Council have set a precedent, but are treating us differently.
We are proposing that recycling bins are located only in Preston Street (see map above or at http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/downloads/bhcc/communal_recycling/4415_Comm_Recycling_Consultation_-_Leaflet_-_Regency1.pdf ), on Western Road opposite Cafe Nero (see map) and that the recycling bins are moved from Russell Square (see map) to the top of Cannon Place where there are already bins located. Residents in the area of Castle and Stone Street can use Western Road, Regency Square use Preston Street, Clarence and Russell Squares use Cannon Place.
Apart from the recycling areas listed above we do not want any more bins in our area.
We are a Conservation area with beautiful Regency squares. The proposed i360 will bring large numbers of visitors to our area. They and we do not want to have to look at black recycling bins littering our squares and streets.
Please make your views known to the Council.
If you do not have a questionnaire or wish to resend a questionnaire to the Council please ask Nigel Rose on email@example.com for another copy.
02 April 2013
The work on the refurbishment of the Regency Square car park is now complete. Several members of the Society have complimented the contractors on their hard work and, above all, their quietness and friendliness as they went about their jobs. Soon the lower green will be returned to its former grassy state. Unfortunately, there is one problem outstanding which has nothing to do with the excellent contractors.
Orignally Brighton and Hove City Council had planned a very large glass entrance on the north side of the square. The Society objected that this would interrupt views of the Regency buildings around the square. The Committee was delighted when the Council then revised the scheme, replacing the high box with a much lower, unobtrusive one. This is now in place and is, indeed, unobtrusive. It serves it purpose well and the car park is now secure.
Alas, the Council had overlooked the fact that the low roof of the glass entrance is a possible death-trap to anyone who might choose to climb on it it. There is a 30 foot drop into the car park on one side and an 8 foot drop onto the entrance stairwell on another. The Council’s solution has been to erect a “Car Park” sign onto the western edge of the glass entrance. The Committee of the Society feels that this sign is quite out of keeping with a conservation area which has already been blighted by the very presence of the car park. This new sign is not large enough to require planning permission.
This has lead to the Society’s main concern: anyone climbing on the glass room could easily climb over the top of the sign (many young men have very long legs), slip between the black bars (even very small boys can be dare-devils) and simply fall into the stairwell on the north side of the roof as there is no protection there are all.
The Society is therefore requesting the removal of the rectangular white sign and asking for a more effective and less obtrusive solution to be found.
23 January 2013
On New Year’s morning, committee members of the Regency Square Area Society were shocked to see that one of the historic bollards in the twitten outside the Regency Tavern had disappeared. Urgent e-mails to the City Council brought a hurried replacement bollard: a “little brother” for the remaining bollard. The Regency Square Area Society is asking Brighton and Hove City Council to replace the original bollard which is a listed feature of the historic squares and twitten.
09 March 2012
RSAS supports the Council's plans for upgrading the Regency Square Car Park. But we felt that the 2.3 meter high glass box that was part of the original design was unacceptable.
We encouraged local people to object and got coverage of our views in The Argus. As a result the original application has been withdrawn and we are now talking to the Council aboutr their alternative plans.
03 January 2012
The Council has big plans to improve the car park in Regency Square, which is often almost empty at present. The aim is to attract more users and the cost of the imporvements is to be met from the extra revenue.
Traffic lights will be installed at the south west corner of the square. This will allow vehicles leaving the car park to turn left or right into King's Road.
The car park itself will be made more secure with access for ticket holders only. Once inside, dirvers will find improved lighting and signage.
When the car park is busy, queues at the entrance block the west side of the square. Memebrs of the Regency Square Area Society recently met Councillor Ian Davey who has agreed to look at the possibility of removing some existing on-street parking to solve this problem.
Work on the imporvements is expected to start in April and be completed by the end of 2012.
18 November 2011
Roger Hinton has been chairman of the Regency Square Area Society since 2000 and a committee member for many years before that. He recently announced that this would be his last year as a committee member.
In a letter to members he said "It has been a wonderful experience. I have met many interesting people, and made some good friends. I hope that the Society has benefitted our neighbourhood during that time."
Several other committee members are also stepping down so the Society is looking for new volunteers to carry its work forward in the future. If you are interested in getting involved, or know someone else who might be, please get in touch.
17 September 2011
Regency Square car park is a mess. It is also largely empty most of the time. On the few days when it does fill up, tailbacks from the entrance block the west side of Regency Square causing problems for residents.
The Council is now planning to spend £2.4 million on improvements.
Access will be made easier from the A259 (Kings Road) with vehicles entering from the east and leaving from the west. A new pedestrian crossing will also be provided to make it safer to get to the seafront and the potential i360 development.
Detailed plans are not yet available but the changes are expected to reduce traffic entering Preston Street, allowing for future possible improvements. Traffic flows on the west side of Regency Square may increase.
New security arranegemnts will mean that only customers will be able to enter the car park itself. Once inside, they will find new lighting, pedestrian walkways and designated disabled parking bays. Dead spaces will be closed off to discourage anti-social behavious.
Regency Square Area Society chairman, Roger Hinton commented "We welcome this investment, but we are keen to see the details of how traffic in the area will be affected, particularly if the improvements are going to increase usage of the car park. We hope the Council will carry out a full consultation before the plans are finalised."
17 September 2011
There has been a recent spate of graffiti in our area. Much of it uses the same tag, suggesting someone local may be responsible.
Council workers have painted out some of it, but, as our photo shows, they don't always come equipped with the right colour paint, and new graffiti is often added as soon as the old has been removed.
Members of the Regency Square Area Society have also painted out some, including the wall in the photo, which is currently graffiti free and the correct colour.
Buildings in Regency Square need to be painted in a specific colour, BS 10-C-31, in order to comply with the Council's uniform painting scheme.
08 July 2011
Many thanks to everyone who replied to our questionnaire about proposed improvements to the gardens in Regency Square.
We had seventy responses and large majorities in favour of most of the proposals. This indicates good support for our plans. The next step is to start working with the Council to implement them.
You can read more about the questionnaire results in our July newsletter which will be available here shortly.
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