Angry Brighton residents have urged councillors to oppose plans for Soho House to build a two-metre fence over fears their sea views will be blocked.
The private members’ club hopes to erect an Art Deco “boundary treatment”, including a wrought iron fence with an elaborate decorative entrance, along the city’s sea front.
Soho House says the installation will provide its guests, who pay an annual fee of £2,750 for access to its clubs, with privacy as well as adding another entrance to the building.
But neighbours have angrily opposed the club’s plans, which would also add tall plants, deep planters and large shrubberies to the fence to provide more cover.
Nearby residents are concerned that the new boundary would block their sea views and bring more traffic to the road in front of the building as a result. Others complained it would lower property prices in the area.
In a complaint written to Brighton and Hove Council, a local said: “This proposed two-metre fence would remove a sea view totally and devalue our property with immediate effect.”
Another wrote: “We look to you as our planning department to consider the council tax paying residents and not simply railroad us by bending to pressure from lucrative companies such as Soho House.”
“Soho House Private Members Club takes a lot and gives little back to the people of Brighton and Hove,” a third concerned neighbour added.
One particularly angered resident accused Soho House of “taking the p--s”, adding: “They already have their private sea-view terrace and I struggle to see why they should completely remove any access to a view for the general population of Brighton just because they can? It is absolutely not acceptable.
“Was this the plan all along? To abide by some planning regulations and then slowly achieve their original rebutted design plan along the softly, softly, monkey-catcher methodology by incrementally sliding back to their original plan with no ramifications.”
A spokesman for Soho House said: “Most of our members live locally and working in partnership with the community is important to us. The proposed installation of the ornate slim metal profile gates and railing will preserve the sea view from Marine Parade.”
Soho House, which runs 41 clubs around the world, was granted permission to build on the Grade II-listed site on Marine Parade in 2016, but with a planning condition which stated a sea view between two new rooftop buildings must be preserved.
The vista was blocked for several years after hoardings were put up in 2017, remaining there for months after the venue was opened in May 2022 to be taken down the following September.
The venue has now applied for new planning permission to install a two-metre high decorative fence and gate between the buildings.
The application says: “The revised plans for the north elevation now propose a new bespoke railing and gate pattern influenced by early 20th-century style, in keeping with the approach taken for the redevelopment of this site.”
A resident of the Van Allen building opposite Soho House Brighton, who bought their flat after permission was granted but before it was built, said: “I would not have bought my apartment if I had known that they would be allowed to flout the planning permission and get away with it.”
Brighton and Hove council last year said that it would prioritise preserving the heritage of the area. Lesley Johnson, head of the Brighton and Hove Council heritage team noted that the new club sits in “a listed building in an historic area and is in a highly prominent location on a main thoroughfare”.
The Brighton clubhouse houses restaurants, bars and an event space, with a terrace overlooking the sea outside and a separate, glass-fronted building that has views of Brighton Palace Pier. Across its two floors members can browse art collections, swim in a “dipping pool” and use a “content box” to record podcasts and short videos.
Brighton and Hove Council declined to comment.
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