Many people living in the vicinity of The Dyke Tavern (now closed) may be asking why the Save the Dyke Group are objecting to a smaller pub reopening in part of the original building.

One of the main reasons is the overriding memory of what the community had, not just because of nostalgia but the enjoyment of being in a beautifully lit space. In architecture there are many aspects which bring joy to the human spirit and in my 54 years of practising light, either sunlight or daylight, has been the strongest factor in humans being fulfilled by a building. This is exactly what we experienced in the original pub. The large expanse of fenestration to the Dyke Road side and the Highcroft Villas side flooded the interior with light even on the dullest of days, but on sunny days the evening sunlight from the south west-facing Dyke Road windows was joyous. Quite often people are not necessarily aware of what is uplifting their spirits in a building but I have two buildings in particular which have demonstrated the overwhelming effect of light on the human soul.

Approximately 20 years ago I was commissioned to design a new swimming pool for James Allen’s Girls’ School and very recently I met the now retired Bursar who informed me that the School was now turning out potential Olympic class swimmers, not because it had a hole in the ground filled with water but it had a building which drew pupils to it to want to swim. The swimming coach, ex-Olympian Jacqui Bedford, stated that “she had swum in buildings all over the world but this was the best one”.

More locally, approximately 15 years ago I was given the job of designing a new mental health hospital in Worthing, and as part of my research I visited some existing mental health facilities which were dark and ghostly. The response was that I decided to flood this new facility in light, the result being that after opening, the patients’ behaviour was monitored for the first six months and the number of incidents reduced dramatically from what was recorded in their previous facility.

If we now compare the fenestration on the original pub with the new proposals, the new pub will receive a substantially inferior amount of sunlight and daylight not simply because it is smaller but it runs east/west through the depth of the building rather than north/south like the original pub.

The proposals will be cramped and dark, with no proper kitchen and a postage stamp sized sunless terrace. Reject it and keep fighting for a pub that brings joy to the soul and will give this community a beautiful shared facility with a large garden.

Bryan Graham RIBA

To object to the plans for development, please visit the Council website and click Comments.