Sussex University has been refused outline planning permission to build more than 4,000 students bedsits on the edge of Brighton.
The plans would also have meant replacing some academic facilities and building a new life sciences centre on the university’s Falmer campus.
They included a new road for cars and delivery vehicles, with Refectory Road becoming a route for cyclists and pedestrians.
Concerns were expressed about the university’s expansion and the pressure that this was placing on housing in Brighton and Hove.
The university proposed demolishing about 1,500 student flats on the campus to make way for the new buildings, giving a net gain of about 2,500.
A report to the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee said that the university was also building 350 student flats in London Road and 440 in nearby Pelham Street.
The report said: “There would therefore be a predicted shortfall of approximately 340 which is considered acceptable.”
One objector, Caroline Lynch, of the Coombe Road Local Action Team (LAT) in Brighton, asked: “Where exactly will these new students be housed?”
She said that Brighton and Hove had a waiting list of 15,500 for affordable housing and said: “Granting this planning application today, I feel, would be reckless.”
The university suggested that about one in five of its extra students would come from the local area or not need housing.
Allan Spencer, the university’s finance director, said that the university would continue to work with LATs and other community groups in those areas affected.
Councillor Leo Littman, a former Sussex student, said that he was concerned about the loss of hundreds of trees.
Mr Spencer told the Planning Committee, which met at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday 25 June), that two hectares of trees had already been planted as part of mitigating preparations.
The report to councillors said that, while the loss of approximately 450 trees was “regrettable”, the council’s tree specialist had recommended adequate replacement planting.
Councillor Geoff Wells said: “The additional thousands of students coming into the city will take up a lot of our family housing.”
He was uncomfortable with this and said: “We have got a phenomenal problem with housing in this city.”
Councillor Carol Theobald said that there would be many years of disturbance to students.
Councillor Ben Duncan said that the most striking thing was that the architect Sir Basil Spence designed the university for 800 students. It aims to have up to 18,000 students by 2018.
Councillor Ann Norman said that she had met Sir Basil Spence and didn’t think he would have expected the student numbers to stop at 800.
Councillor Littman said that even in the 1990s the student flats were well past their “sell by” dates.
Councillor Penny Gilbey said that she had worked in some of the university’s laboratories and they needed replacing. But the application was too big and lacked detail.
She said: “I am concerned that the students will come anyway. Where will they go?”
Councillor Bob Carden said that the application was far too big.
Councillor Lynda Hyde said: “We love the students most of the time.”
But she also said that it was all too much.
Councillor Les Hamilton said that the number of students exceeded the number of new housing units.
He said that every property turned over to students cost the council money because they were exempt from paying council tax.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “I want the university to be successful.”
But he also said: “This is just too much.”
The committee voted ten to one against the plans.