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Wilkinson Eyre finally wins go-ahead for controversial Brighton skyscraper - images

Wilkinson Eyre's highly contentious £235 million Brighton Marina development has finally secured planning permission after being drastically scaled back.

Plans to build a controversial 40-storey tower with a public viewing gallery and a 2km marina walkway were approved by Brighton and Hove's planning applications sub-committee by nine votes to three last Friday (30 June).

The scheme will deliver 853 'eco-homes' - 25 percent fewer than originally planned - along with 2,600m 2of commercial space, including seven restaurants and cafés. A fifth of the energy used by the scheme will be harnessed from solar, wind, wave and combined heat and power sources, according to the architect.

Wilkinson Eyre managed to win over planners by removing three key buildings from its original masterplan and significantly increasing parking and leisure provision.

Brighton and Hove city council planners described the revised proposal as 'a significant improvement that makes effective and efficient use of land in accordance with sustainable principles that underpin the planning process'.

However, local conservationist Valerie Paynter, who has vociferously opposed Frank Gehry's nearby Hove towers project, described the scheme as a 'nice piece of design totally out of context'.

'This is middle-finger Brutalism. It's not full Brutalism celebrating chaos, but it is still a tower block. No one has paid enough attention to the environmental impact in reaching the planning decision.

Wilkinson Eyre director Jim Eyre played down concerns, insisting the design will create a dynamic environment for people to live, work and visit.

He said CABE had praised the development as a 'model of best practice' in its latest tall buildings study.

by Clive Walker

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