Thousands of new homes on the Sussex University campus at Falmer have been given the go ahead by a planning inspector.
The inspector, Ken Barton, gave his backing to the university’s campus masterplan after it was originally rejected by Brighton and Hove City Council.
He heard the university’s appeal at a six-day public inquiry in Brighton which started at the end of June.
The public inquiry was cut short after the council withdrew its objection to the masterplan proposals although a representative of local residents, Caroline Lynch, maintained her objections.
She said that the university was not building enough homes to cater for its expansion and would add to pressure on surrounding communities.
Mr Barton rejected her arguments in his report. He said that other student homes were in the pipeline on the site of the old Falmer High School – known as the Falmer retained land – and in Pelham Street, Brighton.
She argued for building to be phased so that the new student rooms were ready before the extra students arrived at Sussex. But this has not been made a condition of the scheme’s approval.
Sussex University said that the masterplan represented a potential £500 million investment in the local economy, providing a framework for the future development of campus.
- New state-of-the-art academic and research facilities
- 2,500 new student rooms on campus and facilities to support this expansion
- Preservation of architect Sir Basil Spence’s famous listed buildings and surrounding landscape
- The creation of an estimated 2,400 new jobs in the local community
The university’s registrar John Duffy said: “We welcome the planning inspector’s decision to approve the university’s masterplan proposal and are pleased both the inspector and Brighton and Hove City Council agree on the merits of our plans to modernise our campus.
“The university has taken great care to ensure our masterplan is sympathetic to the architectural heritage and unique landscape of the campus and, over many years, we have gone to significant effort to preserve and enhance these features so that current and future generations can enjoy these surroundings.
“The careful development of our Falmer campus will allow us to provide a better education and experience for our students while delivering substantial investment and more jobs in Sussex and the wider region.
“Over many decades, we have maintained a strong relationship with the council and we will continue to engage with them constructively on the evolution of the campus.
“We also look forward to working together with local residents and businesses to listen to their views and ensure that we create a modern university that will benefit the whole of Brighton and Hove.”
The Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown Simon Kirby welcomed the decision. Mr Kirby said: “It is fantastic news that the masterplan has been approved and that this expansion can now go ahead.
“Sussex had already been given approval to take 6,000 new students.
“The university plays a very important role in our local economy, both directly and indirectly, and it is right that it be able to expand to enable it to keep up with other leading universities and maintain its reputation as a centre of research excellence.
“I am always aware that any new development needs to be appropriate and so I have always argued that the accommodation needed to support these extra students should be built on the campus to reduce pressure on family homes in the city, particularly in areas such as Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.”
For a link to the inspector’s report, click here.