Enforcement notice served on notorious Brighton office block

Posted on by John Cronin

Brighton and Hove City Council has served a revised enforcement notice to a company that owns a derelict office block in the city.

Anston HouseThe council is attempting to keep up the pressure on the owners of the notorious Anston House, a former office block with adjacent empty land that is now considered as being a serious eyesore in the city (image source).

In July the council served a section 215 enforcement notice on those with interest in the land to clear up the site. The owners appealed against the notice but the council persuaded them back to the table and negotiated revised conditions without the need for court action. The new, revised notice gives the owners 18 months to carry out all the improvements and imposes a new condition that vegetation must be cut back every three months.

Anston House is located in London Road on what is considered a strategically important 0.6 hectare site at the gateway to the centre of Brighton. The 9 storey, 1960’s office block and adjacent overgrown site was sold for £10.5m in May 2007 to Bridgetown Properties Ltd. The previous owner of the site had submitted 60 planning applications but none of them came to fruition. Redeveloped, the office block could offer a significant amount of office floor space. However, the office building remains empty and in a sorry state of repair.

The current owners have been previously fined a total of £30,000 with costs of £4,000 for five breaches of tree preservation orders. Bridgetown Properties was fined £5,000 per tree – a total of £25,000. Mr Harding (company director) was personally fined £1,000 per tree – a total of £5,000. Both parties were ordered to pay £2,000 costs. Mr Harding filed for bankruptcy three days before sentencing was due and therefore the judge had to take into consideration Mr Harding’s financial circumstances when determining the amount of fine to be imposed.

The neglected site has received a great deal of attention from local residents and local community bloggers. The publisher of the Prestonville community news site presented a petition to the council, signed by approximately 600 residents, which eventually resulted in the prosecution for the illegal tree felling. Another local news site called News From Brighton is also monitoring events at the empty office block that was last used in 1987 by a utilities company.

In the latest enforcement notice the council requires the owners to “repair or replace all broken windows on the office building” and “remove all graffiti from the exterior of the building”.

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