by Robert Nemeth
Plans to carefully restore and reveal Puget’s Cottage, one of the oldest buildings in the Lanes, came close to derailment last year when a small group of conservation extremists called for the listing of the Timpson building on North Street – a fairly modern structure in dreadful condition and of little historic interest.
When Puget’s Cottage was recently discovered by architect John McLean of Brighton-based Morgan Carn Partnership, tucked away behind Timpson, it was instantly recognised as something special. Having been land-locked for decades, surrounded by other buildings and their successive extensions, it had simply been forgotten. An opportunity now exists to restore this 17th century gem.
One of Brighton’s most exciting planning proposals, masterminded by a variety of parties including McLean and developer Ed Allison-Wright, includes the complete refurbishment of Brighton Square and the creation of a whole new twitten between Brighton Place and Meeting House Lane with 15 new shops in total. The best bit though, a new link between all of this and North Street, was withdrawn from last year’s planning application (which was passed unanimously incidentally).
The reason for the withdrawal was the inclusion of the Timpson building within a last-minute listing application for Puget’s Cottage, called for by the aforementioned conservation extremists. It was deemed that Timpson’s listed status would jeopardise the rest of the scheme’s chance of success.
Creating the open-air link to North Street involves the demolition of Timpson which is to be decided within a new planning application shortly. I’d rather see Timpson gone and Puget’s Cottage behind exposed and brought back to life. That is the sensible approach when it comes to conservation.
I am happy to add my voice as support for this most sensible of planning applications. Let’s hope that logic prevails when the application is considered on 22nd April.