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Cover’s Yard, Brighton

Residential Development: Architecture in England, UK – design by a : b : i : r architects

24 Aug 2010

Cover’s Yard Brighton

Brighton affordable housing scheme granted Planning Permission after 5½ years

Design: a : b : i : r architects

A proposal for much need affordable housing in Brighton & Hove has been granted planning permission over five years after the design work started. Simon Atkins of a:b:i:r architects began working on the scheme for The Hyde Group in early 2005.

The proposals, which provide for 39 affordable flats on the former Cover’s Yard site on the Lewes Road was finally granted planning permission after three planning applications, two public inquiries and significant design changes. It is one of the first tall buildings in the centre of Brighton & Hove to be successful at appeal.

Cover's Yard Brighton
image : a : b : i : r architects

Covers Yard is positioned south-east of the Vogue Gyratory on Lewes Road and forms an island bounded by Melbourne Street to the east of Lewes Road. The site used to lie beneath the railway viaduct serving the Kemptown branch line which crossed Lewes Road where the gyratory now sits. The site is within an area identified as being able to accommodate taller buildings by Brighton & Hove City Council.

The arrangement of the new building footprint has been designed in an ‘L – shaped’ format with the build form addressing the frontage of Melbourne Street to the north and east boundaries. This arrangement addresses the existing urban grain and is massed to avoid overshadowing of adjacent dwellings and gardens.

The proposals are arranged in three distinct elements:

– a terrace of ground floor apartments with maisonettes above which read as 3 storey ‘town houses’ fronting the east boundary and relating to the existing Victorian terrace housing opposite and adjacent.
– a 7 storey apartment block ‘tower’ on the north east corner of the site marking the corner of Melbourne Street and reflecting the mass and height of Enterprise Point on the opposite side of Melbourne Street.
– a 4 storey apartment block with an ‘industrial’ aesthetic relating to the commercial units and brickwork facades of 124 Lewes Road.

The ‘town houses’ include bay structures which draw inspiration from the Victorian bay windows of the adjoining terrace housing. The bays are functional structures that provide stores and private access points to the maisonettes. Likewise their rendered facades have a material relationship with the existing properties in Melbourne Street. Low pitched sedum roofs reduce the bulk of the building and illustrate the change in architectural language between the Victorian terraces and the new building.

The tower draws material references from the surrounding finishes: dark brickwork and painted render. The ‘industrial’ element takes material reference from the simple brick facades of 124 Lewes Road. The window and doors are scattered across the elevations to create relief to the vertical form. A brick work plinth provides continuity between the building elements at street level. The communal stair access has a glazed north façade and copper clad west elevation. These elevations form the end stop to the tower when viewed from Lewes Road and also clearly mark the communal primary entrance to the development.

Simon Atkins who has lead the project through from inception and gave evidence at the public inquiry in May said
‘We are absolutely delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has granted permission for this scheme. It is testament to our client’s determination that this is the right site for desperately needed affordable housing and it vindicates our belief in good quality design. We hope that this decision will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Lewes Road area.’
Cover's Yard Brighton Cover's Yard Brighton Cover's Yard Brighton Cover's Yard Brighton
images : a : b : i : r architects

Cover’s Yard, Brighton – Building Information

Design commenced: early 2005
First planning application submitted: Mar 2006 – withdrawn on advice of planning department
Second planning application submitted: Mar 2007
First planning refusal: Jul 2007
First appeal hearing (public inquiry): May 2008
First appeal dismissed Jun 2009
Third planning application submitted: Mar 2009
Second planning refusal: Jul 2009
Second appeal hearing (public inquiry): May 2010
Appeal granted at public inquiry: 18 Aug 2010
Architect: Simon Atkins, director a:b:i:r architects
Planning consultant: Lewis and Co Planning Southeast Ltd
Client: The Hyde Group

About The Hyde Group
The Hyde Group is a leading provider of affordable housing and makes a significant contribution to meeting housing needs and improving people’s quality of life. Hyde is one of the largest housing association groups working in England, owning or managing over 43,000 homes in London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the East of England and East Midlands. More about the Hyde Group can be found at

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