Planners are asking the public to help shape the future of what is expected to be the last new suburb of Brighton and Hove.
They are drawing up guidelines for Toad’s Hole Valley, in Hangleton, where Brighton and Hove City Council wants at least 700 new homes, mostly three-bedroom houses, plus a secondary school.
More than 200 people responded to a first round of consultation last year, which helped planning officials to identify the issues causing most concern.
These included traffic, noise and pollution on a site sandwiched between the A27 Brighton bypass and the A2038 King George VI Avenue, known locally as Snakey Hill.
There were also concerns about safe access in and out of the area, in part because of the busy roads as well as a desire for spaces for children to play.
People were worried about the size and scale of buildings on the site, including their height, with the council keen to have good quality employment space.
And people said that they hoped to have not just a school but shops and community facilities for health, sport or growing food.
The council has published a draft “supplementary planning document” for Toad’s Hole Valley and will consult the public, including potential developers, for six weeks from next month.
Planning boss Liz Hobden was keen that it shouldn’t be too prescriptive but said that it should contain enough detailed clear guidance to ensure “high quality and sustainable development”.
At a meeting of the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee at Hove Town Hall the approach was broadly welcomed.
Councillor Julie Cattell, who chairs the council’s Planning Committee, said: “I’m really delighted this has come forward and I hope we can get on with it. We really need these new homes.”
Councillor Robert Nemeth, the opposition Conservative spokesman for economic development and culture, called for the document to be amended to encourage the promotion of self-build and custom-build within the scheme.
The Wish Ward councillor made the case that some of the most attractive streets in our suburbs locally feature buildings in a variety of different designs and styles.
He said that this should be encouraged, rather than adopting a corporate identikit approach that is the norm for the bigger housebuilding companies.
Councillor Nemeth argued that self-build and custom-build would ensure the involvement of many more local professionals such as architects, builders, surveyors and solicitors.
He also said that this was better than the risk of just a handful of large out-of-town businesses carrying out most of the work which would be damaging to the economy of Brighton and Hove.
His proposal won support from first the Greens and then Labour. It was modified to include the encouragement of co-operative and community land trust models.
The land has been in the hands of the Cook family for generations and is co-owned with a company called Pecla Investments.
They have been working with a consultancy called Enplan which has been working on a draft masterplan for the 91-acre site. It would include rerouting King George VI Avenue.
If all goes to schedule, a planning application could come before councillors as early as next year.
Yesterday (Wednesday 11 January) the Planning Committee approved a £19 million scheme by another developer, Mike Holland, to build 69 flats in four blocks up to four storeys high, on the site of Court Farm House.
The existing buildings would be demolished on the two-and-a-half-acre site which overlooks Toad’s Hole Valley.