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Conservatives Win Fight to Protect Hove Library

Hove Library (Image from Google Streetview)
Hove Library (Image from Google Streetview)

Residents, campaigners, conservation societies (Including The Brighton Society), and the Conservation Advisory Group (CAG) are fighting to protect Hove Library.

Labour Ignore Objections

Interested parties have heavily criticised the Labour Administration for its refusal to take into account 8 of 12 objections.

Cllr Wealls. Conservative Finance Spokesman
Cllr Wealls. Conservative Finance Spokesman

The 12 objections include an objection lodged by the Brighton Society and one from Councillor Andrew Wealls, (within whose ward the Library is situated). Proposed alteration works will severely compromise the most important characteristic of Hove Library’s internal design – the radiating layout of bookshelves within the semi-circular plan of the library. This almost unique layout is one of the main reasons for the building’s Grade 2 listing.

In a statement, The Brighton Society wrote: “The Council should be setting an example of high standards to the private sector both in its commitment to preserving and enhancing the city’s heritage assets, and its commitment to the principle of public consultation.”


Cllr Robert Nemeth
Cllr Robert Nemeth

The Conservative Group in Brighton and Hove put forward a Notice of Motion, Proposed by: Cllr. Robert Nemeth (facebook) and Seconded by: Cllr. Andrew Wealls (facebook) which read:

  1. Immediately call a halt to the proposed works to Hove Library following criticism from residents, campaigners, conservation societies and the Conservation Advisory Group (CAG) about the way in which the planning process was handled, until the go-ahead is given by the Cross-Party Hove Library Working Group (which was not consulted on the proposal); and
  2. Requests the Chair of the Tourism, Development & Culture Committee to call for an officer report on the way in which application BH2017/03940 for works to the Library was advertised during the Christmas period and granted planning permission without either resident, Councillor or CAG scrutiny, that includes specific proposals on both consultation period and Councillor intervention to ensure that such an event does not happen again.

In Embarrassment Labour Abstain

The Labour Group did attempt to block Conservative’s Motion but, thanks to the Green Group’s support for this unique building, their amendment was voted down. After a great deal of political posturing, when the Conservative Motion came to the vote, an embarrassed Labour Group abstained in their entirety.