Post Office appeal dismissed - 30 years ago

Photo:Corner of Foundry Street, late 1970s

Corner of Foundry Street, late 1970s

From the 'Evening Argus', 12 April 1978

By Geoffrey Mead

Researching in the Brighton Local History Centre and browsing through the Evening Argus of 30 years ago I came across the following snippet of North Laine history in the edition for 12 April 1978:

"PO lose Foundry Street battle

Brighton Council has won its battle with the Post Office over land in Foundry Street.

The Post Office appealed when the Council turned down an application for demolishing disused buildings and replacing them with a temporary car park.

But the Department of the Environment, after considering written representations from both sides, has dismissed the appeal.

The Post Office said the existing buildings were in poor condition and incapable of reasonable reinstatement.

"However, it appears from the site inspection that while sashes and doors are neglected and there are one or two minor roof leaks, the fabric of the appeal site, including floor and roof timbers, is basically sound," says the Department's report.

The Council said Foundry Street was in a Conservation Area and that generally it was better to restore buildings rather than pull them down. Demolition would make a prominent break in the west side of the street, setting a bad precedent for the future."

It seems inconceivable now that in a Conservation Area a major landholder would propose such demolition but the 1970s were a bad time for buildings and conservation in Brighton and this victory at the end of the decade heralded a new, more sympathetic attitude to urban renewal and conservation. The appearance of the street now, with its 'loft conversions' and general air of 'gentrification', is due to this decision and the concerted activities of the NLCA.

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 194, Sept/Oct 2008]

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