A group of Hove neighbours have set up a residents association to fight proposals for environmentally friendly homes on the edge of Shoreham Harbour.
They held a public meeting last night, with almost 140 turning out to hear about the PortZED plans and to have their say.
One resident, retired planning officer Sue Moffatt, of Derek Avenue, said: “The PortZED scheme is development but not as we know it.
“The scheme aims for a high standard of development and encourages residents to live a low or zero carbon lifestyle.
“It has funding for the inclusion of a visitor centre.
“It’s intended to be a role model for Brighton and Hove and beyond.
“It’s innovative and of local and national interest.
“Low carbon development will be statutory in a few years.
“The idea is getting a lot of support from people who don’t know our neighbourhood.
“The site is in the harbour but it’s also in our neighbourhood.
“It’s an innovative and imaginative idea.
“It’s a good scheme but it’s in the wrong place – it’s on the wrong side of the harbour.
“It’s out of scale where we are.
“Significant changes need to be made to make our new neighbour compatible with our neighbourhood.”
Referring to someone who says “Not in my back yard” – nicknamed a Nimby – she added: “I’m not a Nimby but I want something better on this neighbourhood’s doorstep.”
She was speaking to the newly formed Kingsway and West Hove Residents Association.
It met at St Leonard’s Church Hall in Glebe Villas, Hove, to discuss the PortZED planning application – the ZED stands for zero energy development.
The application is for 67 flats in six buildings in Basin Road North, with helical wind turbines between the buildings and an array of solar panels, predominantly on the southern side.
The scheme includes a host of other eco-friendly features and is even geared up towards creating a dozen or so apprenticeships for young people in Brighton and Hove.
Wish ward councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn said: “What a great scheme. What a wonderful concept. But it’s unproven and it’s a quart into a pint pot.”
A number of residents spelt out their fears and criticisms and asked questions about the project.
One of them was retired GP Mike Sharman, who lives in Kingsway and who chaired the meeting.
In addition to setting out his concerns, he said: “In the long term we’re going to have to reach a compromise with the developer.
“Hopefully we can have a scheme that is financially viable to them and acceptable to us.”
Residents were reminded that a four-storey building had been given planning permission on the old Caffyns site.
And another four-storey building had been granted permission on the site of the old job centre in Kingsway, next to the PortZED site.
Christopher Hawtree, of Westbourne Gardens, Hove, urged residents to object to the scheme and to try to delay it in the hope that the developer Boho Green would run out of money.
But the developer has recently been awarded a £100,000 prize after a competition held by the Technology Strategy Board.
The money is to fund attempts to adapt the building to cope with climate change.
The PortZED project has already been allocated separate funding for its visitor centre and green business hub.
The space will be used to showcase environmentally friendly ideas such as the Ultra eco – an energy-saving product distributed by Woodingdean company Blue Carbon.
The meeting last night was told that the planning application was supposed to go before the planning committee before the end of March.