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Locals give thumbs-up to Gehry's Hove scheme

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A public opinion poll of Frank Gehry's controversial leisure complex scheme on the South Coast has thrown up a surprising result - the majority of locals support it.

Gehry's King Alfred scheme on Hove's seafront has been the subject of endless disputes between campaign groups and developer Karis; but the first independent test has shown that two-thirds of the Brighton and Hove public back the scheme.

The poll, commissioned by Karis and performed by independent research group ICM, questioned 1,000 city residents, and results show that for every opponent there are three supporters.

The prospect of new leisure facilities and appreciation of Gehry's design are said to have led to the support.

The news has been welcomed by Karis managing director Josh Arghiros, who believes the result is a direct endorsement of the scheme.

He said: 'We've heard the noise generated by a small minority of people who are against the scheme, but this is the first chance residents across the city have had to give their views and they have given our plans a resounding thumbs-up.'

But campaigners and others opposed to the project have rubbished the poll. The Save Hove campaign's Valerie Paynter said: 'If Karis is so confident about how successful their scheme will be, why, at this stage, does it need an opinion poll? It's an act of complete desperation.'

by Richard Vaughan

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