HOVE is much more sedate and ‘respectable’ than its neighbour Brighton, though the two are now officially joined at the hip by the Brighton and Hove City Council established in 1997. Its image has been that of a haven for the elderly, and indeed it does have plenty of sheltered housing and low-level flats. As part of its campaign to attract a younger set, Hove has built up a sporting image with a big sports complex offering everything from martial arts to synchronised swimming.
Hove suffered in the Thirties when some of its most important houses were demolished and replaced with ten-storey blocks of flats. Nevertheless, there are still some classic, sweeping Regency curves to be found in the Brunswick area, some good Sussex cottages near the seafront, and some fine Victorian and Victorian Gothic houses in The Avenues. Property tends to be cheaper on the outskirts, where the modern estates are situated. A two-bedroom Victorian garden flat just off the seafront could cost £250,000; a Regency balcony flat with sea views £350,000 upwards; three-bedroom family houses start at £260,000 and good family houses away from the sea can hit £1m. The up-market sedate addresses are Tongdean Avenue, Tongdean Road and Dyke Road Avenue, with the new millionaires’ row at the west end of town where Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim) and Heather Mills have houses backing on to the beach. A whole house on the seafront will start at £1m.
While Sussex County Cricket Club still calls Hove home, Brighton and Hove Albion FC were moved into temporary quarters at the Withdean Stadium in Brighton and are now awaiting the building of their new 22,000-seat stadium at Falmer on the northern outskirts of Brighton. There are two golf clubs, the West Hove and the Brighton and Hove. And there is, of course, the beach. In the last decade this sedate old lady of a town has developed a certain sparkle by acquiring a galaxy of restaurants along Church Road, which are good enough to lure foodies from Brighton and the surrounding area.