Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby has spoken out about plans to build dozens of homes and a residential care home in place of an old school in his constituency.
The Conservative MP made his remarks after meeting campaigners from SAFE (St Aubyns Field Evergreen) who oppose the plans.
Mr Kirby said: “There are three planning applications submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council which are currently under consideration.
“I have been contacted by many concerned residents about the proposed development and have already objected to the three planning applications.
“I believe the city council should be actively looking at brownfield and city centre sites and larger areas that could be developed, such as Shoreham Harbour, in order to meet the city’s housing demand long before looking at greenfield sites.
“The A259 Coast Road and Rottingdean High Street are already extremely congested at peak times of the day and a large number of additional properties and their associated cars will generate even more traffic.
“This will also create more pollution which will reduce air quality for residents. Air quality is already compromised in the Rottingdean High Street area.
“There are concerns about the provision of school places and GP places locally which are already under considerable pressure and there is concern that the sewage and drainage infrastructure will not be sufficient to cope with the many additional residential properties that will be built if this application is approved.
“In addition, the application is for a large number of properties in a relatively small area and so will be very high density. This would be likely to negatively affect the present character of Rottingdean village.
“Another concern is the partial loss of the old school playing field at St Aubyns as part of this proposed development.
“Many local people feel that it is inappropriate that a precious green space in the village should be lost in order that more buildings can be constructed.
“I would encourage local residents to make their views known to the council about this important matter.”
The plans for the 11-acre site were submitted by Linden Homes and the Cothill Educational Trust.
The trust took over the prep school, in High Street, Rottingdean, in May 2012 and closed it just over a year later. The closure was opposed by parents and happened despite an offer by Hurstpierpoint College to buy the school.
The main planning application proposes refurbishing Field House – the main school building – and converting it into six apartments. Four listed cottages in the grounds would also be refurbished.
The remaining school buildings and headmaster’s house would be demolished and 38 new homes – mostly houses – and a three-storey 62-bed care home would be built. The plans include 118 parking spaces for cars and 66 for bikes.
One of the documents submitted with the main planning application said that two thirds of the old school playing field would be handed over to the council for public access.
It said that the homes would generate less traffic than the school did and that there was a pressing need for more housing in the area.
St Aubyns old boys include Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire, Lord Young of Cookham, formerly Sir George Young MP, spread betting millionaire Stuart Wheeler, Olympic gold medal winning oarsman Andrew Lindsay, former Brighton and Hove Albion footballer Adam Virgo, rugby player Noah Cato, cricketer Matthew Fleming, the explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and the writer William Shawcross.
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