New five bedroom house approved for Ovingdean Road, Brighton.

City councilors approved detailed plans for a five-bedroom home on a tree-covered lot.

The house is planned for a vacant lot next to a property called Hillside on Ovingdean Road in Brighton.

However, there were objections from independent councilor Bridget Fishleigh and the Ovingdean Preservation Society, who raised concerns about protected trees in the country.

Brighton and Hove City Planning Committee members postponed the application in October for more information on the trees.

Planning officials, landowner Bulent Ekinci’s agent Umut Kilic and council arborist Paul Davey have since visited the site.

Mr Ekinci, 48, has since submitted more detailed proposals for the two-story home on the vacant lot, along with revised landscaping plans, on behalf of his company Black Homes.

The planning approval was granted in December 2019 and the planning committee was informed that the detailed plans corresponded to the agreed dimensions.

Cllr Fishleigh asked if committee members had attended the site visit. She was told only officers went.

She said: “No trees with TPOs (Tree Protection Ordinances) have been removed but they have been damaged and damaging trees with TPOs on them is a criminal offence.

“The law states that people cannot benefit financially from their crimes. So if you grant planning permission today, the value of the land will increase and the applicant will benefit financially from their criminal behavior.”

Cllr Fishleigh reminded the committee that in December she had submitted a motion to the council to improve the protection of trees with conservation orders. This included management and maintenance plans. But the motion, she said, was “watered down.”

Pam Wright, committee member for the Ovingdean Preservation Society, who lives near the site, said local residents were concerned about the application because the site is on a blind curve and is hazardous to traffic.

She said: “Have traffic officials taken into account the potential speed of traffic and the number of houses and drivers and pedestrians, including school children, using the road in their assessments?

“It is deeply unfortunate that it is being proposed that so many trees be cut down to make way for this development. The newly planted trees will need at least 20 years to reach the level of maturity of the plane trees to be removed.”

Independent tree consultant Greg Sweeney endorsed the application after conducting the initial tree survey and preparing the structural tree planting plan and landscaping scheme.

He said there had been no illegal felling or logging of trees and this had been confirmed at a meeting on the ground in October.

Mr Sweeney said: “None of the trees felled were affected by a Tree Protection Ordinance. Therefore, there is no unlawful criminal conduct.

“Any tree work done at this site to date should not cloud consideration or judgement.”

Fourteen trees would be removed due to excavation work at the site, councilors were told, along with “two groups”. Four trees had already been removed.

The eight plane trees listed in the TPO will be removed under the agreed master plan as four are in the access route and four are within the building footprint.

Conservative councilwoman Carol Theobald, who used to live in the area, was the only committee member to vote against the motion.

She said: “I know the site. At the top of this hill it is so dangerous for anyone to get on and off with a car. There is no bike path provided.

“It is such a shame for this area to be so close to South Downs National Park. It would ruin the view there. It’s just the wrong place and too big.”

Green Councilman Leo Littman, chair of the planning committee, said the building met master planning approval for a two-story building measuring 250 square meters and could not be “legally denied” because of the size. New five bedroom house approved for Ovingdean Road, Brighton.

Fry Electronics Team

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