CABE has called on Brighton's planners to deny permission for KSS Sport and Leisure Design's £34 million revamp of the Grade I-listed West Pier, unless the design changes significantly.
The project, to refurbish the existing structure, also includes plans for the construction of several glazed retail buildings designed to improve the long-term 'financial viability' of the pier.
CABE's design review committee said the practice's solution was 'not a success'. It said: 'At the moment we feel that the design is being pulled in too many different directions, not just because it is a difficult site, but also because of the emotive subject of the refurbishment of the pier.We think there have been too many unsuccessful compromises in the design.'
CABE also highlighted a 'failure' to blend the new buildings in with the distinctiveness of the Brighton waterfront. The committee said: 'There is no sense that the new buildings are contributing to this site or that they are reflecting the design of the existing buildings.'
CABE insisted, however, that it did not oppose the scheme outright, but that it wanted to see significant design improvements before it got the go-ahead. 'While we fully support the aims and principles of the project and are mindful that the refurbishment of the pier is the goal of the scheme, we do not think that planning permission should be granted until these issues are resolved, ' the committee added.
James Budd, an associate at KSS, said the critical report had not dampened the practice's commitment to the project. 'We are looking on the comments in a positive way and are talking to the local borough over the changes we need to make. Most of the project's fundamentals will remain and there is no problem with the massing and the bulking, ' he said.
'We are undergoing a revision exercise over the next few weeks and we will be able to publish the changes very soon, ' Budd added.