Officials are urging planners to throw out an £80 million scheme for 186 flats next to Hove Station.
The scheme – known as Hove Gardens – is due to be discussed by the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee next week.
A report to councillors recommends that the committee refuse planning permission because “the applicant has failed to provide sufficient affordable housing”.
The developer Matsim applied for permission to demolish the commercial buildings at the eastern end of Ellen Street and put up shops, offices and 186 flats.
There would also be an underground car park for 67 cars beneath the new buildings. And they would rise to 17 storeys in height on the block bounded by Ellen Street, Ethel Street, Conway Street and the Brighton and Hove Buses car park which borders Fonthill Road. The bus company plot is not part of the site.
Matsim said that the plans included about 21,000 sq ft of much-needed grade A office space and 2,500 sq ft of shops or small business units.
But the council said: “The applicant has offered 18.8 per cent affordable housing provision which is significantly below the 25 per cent affordable housing provision that has been independently assessed as being viable by the District Valuer Service.”
Council planning policies usually require 40 per cent of the homes in schemes of this size to be affordable.
Earlier this year Matsim director Simon Lambor said: “We hope that this can be the first phase and catalyst in the wider regeneration of the Hove Station Quarter that can provide desperately needed homes and employment space for the city.”
At the same time the architects LCE, from Brighton, said: “The proposed development has been fundamentally designed to accord with the council’s vision for this area.
“The proposals contained within the application have been developed following extensive pre-application discussions and liaison with Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum, who are in support of the proposed scheme, and public consultation carried out alongside them.
“The site presents a major brownfield redevelopment opportunity as it constitutes underutilised and previously developed land in a highly sustainable location, within an uninspiring setting.”
Matsim has said that the scheme would provide employment space for up to 500 people, bringing economic benefits for the area and financial benefits for the council.
As well as £300,000 a year in council tax, the scheme is expected to generate £230,000 a year in business rates. It will also attract £320,000 a year in New Homes Bonus money from the government – or about £1.9 million over six years. In total the project is expected to be worth £850,000 a year to the council.
Eight letters have been received by the council in support of the scheme, with 22 letters of objection. Opponents say that the scheme is too tall, would block light to neighbouring flats and was an overdevelopment.
The Planning Committee is due to decide whether to approve or reject the scheme at a meeting at Hove Town Hall at 2pm on Wednesday 21 June.
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