A £100 million scheme to build 450 student bedsits and 142 flats on the site of the old fruit and veg market in Circus Street, Brighton, has been approved.
The site will also include a seven-storey office building, a dance studio and teaching space for Brighton University, including a publicly accessible library.
The tallest of the 11 proposed buildings will be 13 storeys high and would include a roof terrace. Another will be 10 storeys high.
Members of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee were told that the visual harm likely to be caused by the taller buildings would be outweighed by the scheme’s benefits.
Those benefits were said to include 232 full-time jobs, 170 construction jobs and economic gains worth £10 million a year from student spending.
The scheme is expected to be worth £200 million to the local economy over 10 years.
The 52-space Kingswood Street Car Park would be demolished, almost 50 on-street parking spaces would be lost and Circus Street would become narrower. But the scheme includes 38 parking spaces for cars and 605 for bikes.
The long derelict market – empty since 2005 – would also be demolished along with the old art school building and the wood store.
Neighbour Sue Crossley, who lives in the Milner flats, told the Planning Committee that it seemed like a done deal.
She said that 46 people, mainly in the Milner and Kingswood flats, had signed a petition opposing the scheme. In addition 33 people had written to the council to object to it.
Others opposing the plans included the Brighton Society, the Regency Society, the Kingscliffe Society, the North Laine Community Association and the Conservation Advisory Group.
Reasons for objections included the “overpowering” height and density of the scheme, with “dreary” 1960s style tower blocks, which would “recreate slum conditions” and permit overcrowding.
More than a hundred people wrote to the council to support the scheme which would “breathe new life into the area” and “improve an area with high levels of deprivation”.
Richard Upton, chief executive of the developer Cathedral, said: “I’ve been personally working on this scheme for eight years.”
He accepted that the scheme was “dense” but added: “This is the city centre after all.” And, he said, it was less dense than council policies permitted.
He said that the scheme had been modified after consulting neighbours.
The developer will pay £300,000 to mitigate the impact of the development, including on local schools.
Councillor Lynda Hyde praised planning officers Kathryn Boggiano and Mick Anson for their work on such an “enormous” scheme.
It was passed by 10 votes to 2 at Hove Town Hall this afternoon with councillors Les Hamilton and Bob Carden criticising the scheme for a lack of social rented housing.
Whilst I think it is great idea I do not see how only 12 people should be allowed to vote on such a big project.So now with the old Coop Building there is accommodation for another 1,000 students but with a plan for 5,000 extra at Sussex Uni alone where are they all going to be housed? Preston Barracks is next and some will be accommodation at Sussex Uni if the plans get approved.That will still leave 3,500 needing to be housed and that is just to tread water.
Ok to more students accommodation, but, instead of left less parking… Why not a under ground parking?!?!
Touvh of a problem at the moment with parking spaces, where those many more people with cars they will park?
More people means more cars… Get real!
I’m a not driver, but I do understand people drive and need to park their car near where they live
One good thing about this scheme is that it will keep 450 immature student brats in one place, as opposed to them living (and committing anti-social behaviour) in other residential areas
Such as they did on Sunday night by having a party going on till 1am Monday morning. Which is why I’m now off work bloody sick.
building enough student halls to house them all seems an absolute no brainer – otherwise they have to rent scummy rooms in houses in residential areas, pushing up rental prices for working people whilst causing a nuisance with noise etc.