Sackville Trading Estate

With the i360, King Alfred, Marina, Black Rock, Brighton Centre and Preston Barracks projects stalling, it would be easy to assume that every major developer has downed tools and gone home.

A recent flurry of planning activity including the Park House and old Medina Baths applications shows that the big boys have by no means given up. Unfortunately, these two in particular were appalling. A new application from Parkridge Developments though for the underused Sackville Trading Estate site is surprisingly good.

Parkridge, in junction with LaSalle Investment Management, applied last year to build 180 flats, 23,670ft² of office space and a supermarket on what is now the Sackville Trading Estate. Having been turned down for a variety of reasons, it is now back for reconsideration.

The utilitarian units on the Sackville site presently were constructed in the 1980s by James Longley & Co. Tenants today include Halfords and Focus. Before its current use, the site was the British Rail Goods Yard which included a Corall’s coal depot and a shed for ripening bananas. Brighton Station’s equivalent site sat derelict for years and has only recently been turned into, amongst other things, several blocks of flats, a hotel and a language school. Building on such sites at a time when we should be switching from roads to rail does seem short-sighted but the demand for housing is undeniably large.

Parkridge’s soon to be submitted second application has been met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. “Sackville Place” includes less flats (now 92), more office space (now 60,000ft²) and the obligatory supermarket (hopefully Waitrose). The architects are Ian Robinson and Nick Troullides at Mountford Pigott, a Surrey-based practice. The proposal is made up of a series of large multi-use blocks with an underground car park around a spacious courtyard with a café in the middle. It probably has some good eco-stats too. My two real criticisms are that that it doesn’t include the demolition of more of the surrounding buildings and that there is no direct access into Hove Station. Both were investigated though.

Parkridge’s designs now have real personality. The scattered balconies and white facades remind me of the cliff-face homes of various sea-faring birds – quite appropriate given its location. Sackville Place won’t match the nearby red-brick Victorian terraces but it does have the potential to define the character of the buildings which will inevitably replace other underused warehouses in the vicinity.