34-38 Medina Villas

Dresden House was the nursing home complex consisting of five houses on Medina Villas and four on Albany Villas. It closed several years back rather suddenly – mysteriously even – with little consideration given to residents’ circumstances. It then sat derelict, its future uncertain.

The buildings could easily have become flats had Albany Cross Ltd not snapped up the lot in 2007 for the princely sum of £6.1 million. The firm, a joint venture between John Robinson and Josh Arghiros, really has saved the day. I was lucky enough to be shown around the five Medina buildings.

At least four of the properties on Medina Villas will become whole houses again which is fantastic news for the area. Also, whether or not it was done by design or necessity, the way in which the individual buildings are being sold off as shells has been an absolute success. By just stripping out and removing nasty additions such as extensions and lifts, Albany Cross is providing new owners with blank canvasses.

Nos. 34 and 35, a delightful pair of semi-detached houses, are currently under offer so plenty of evidence of the nursing homes internally and externally still exists. However, at Nos. 36 and 37, almost all evidence has gone. This pair of huge semis is taking shape under the direction of Rupert Maitland of Blue Door Living Solutions (www.bluedoorliving.com). Each has a central ventilation system and miles of new cable. No. 36 is closest to being finished and is equipped with a Lutron lighting system and a fabulous wine cellar.

No. 38 has exchanged but may well end up as several large flats. This is a shame as it would be amongst Hove’s finest houses as a single dwelling. Being detached, double-fronted and close to the sea with a garden, it ticks so many of the right boxes.

Both Medina and Albany Villas are within the Cliftonville area of Hove. It was developed from the 1850s and is characterised by features found on Queen Victoria’s Isle of Wight residence, Osborne House, such as arched windows, pitched roofs, corbelled eaves and belvederes.

With a number of restoration projects taking place on both Medina Villas and my own road, Osborne Villas, now is the ideal time to float an idea that I’ve had. A new dedicated group – the Cliftonville Society perhaps – should be formed to celebrate the successes. Cliftonville has been forgotten for far too long.