Outline planning permission has been granted to build 125 homes in Mile Oak on open land between Overdown Rise and the A27 Brighton bypass.
More than 350 neighbours wrote letters of objection to Brighton and Hove City Council about the scheme proposed by developer Crest Nicholson.
Crest will pay the council almost £1.5 million in developer contributions towards a road widening plan, help for local schools and jobs, sport and open spaces – as well towards protecting wildlife.
Forty per cent of the homes will be classed as affordable some of which will be for rent.
One of the objectors, Stuart Hodges, told the council’s Planning Committee that Crest Nicholson was trying to “ride roughshod over our local community”.
He criticised the company’s past form in revising down the proportion of affordable housing – in Davigdor Road – and its attempts to wrest extra public money towards its King Alfred plans.
Mr Hodges said that Crest Nicholson had cited a Graham Avenue shopkeeper in support of its scheme.
He said that the shopkeeper had not spoken to Crest and did not support the scheme.
Mr Hodges added: “Do you truly believe they will honour their promises on this proposal? Their past record suggests not.
“Crest has effectively told the people of Mile Oak: ‘On your bike!’”
North Portslade ward councillor Peter Atkinson praised the 400 residents who wrote in, with the overwhelming majority against the scheme.
He focused mainly on infrastructure issues, saying: “It can take up to 20 minutes in the morning to get from Mile Oak on to the A293 link road.
“I note the application still has the proposal for Fox Way to be widened as it approaches the link road but with 200-plus cars from the new development this could still result in near deadlock for long periods of time in the morning.
“We will also see more and more motorists using Bush Farm Drive on the Downs Park estate as a rat run as they become frustrated with the delays in Fox Way.
“This is of huge concern to local people.
“I note that some extra traffic analysis has been carried out but remain unconvinced that this development will not cause major problems and had to smile at one document that suggested cars would emerge from the new development at one every minute in the morning!”
Councillor Atkinson remained concerned about the risk of flooding, particularly around the risk of flooding from surface water.
He said: “The Environment Agency website gives an indicative outline of the flooding risks from rainwater and, in relation to this area, suggests that the flow is mainly from the allotment area to the east of the proposed development with a small amount from Gorse Close.
“This then all eventually heads across to Valley Road and towards the Old Village both of which have seem significant flooding recently.
“My concern is that by building at the back of Overdown Rise, we are going to risk even more rainwater gushing down into the drains rather than soaking away into the earth.
“I realise that there are preventative measures in the plans but I remain extremely concerned that we are just adding to the flood risk.
“I would also ask the committee to note Southern Water’s comments in Section 5.42 which says: ‘The proposal would increase flows into the waste water sewerage system (and) as a result increase (the) risk of flooding in and around the area.’
“Mile Oak Medical Centre is already running at full capacity. Two hundred more patients could overwhelm it.
“I can see nothing in the application that recognises that, in the morning particularly, the number 1 bus is often already full before it reaches Portslade Old Village, making life very difficult for those trying to get to work on the bus.
“The emphasis on public transport is welcome but we need a note of reality here.
“As I said at the first application, we need new housing but this is simply the wrong place for it.”
Crest Nicholson’s project manager Jon Callcutt said: “It will meet the housing needs of the local area, providing 125 desperately need homes for families.”
He said that the new application sought to address councillors’ concerns after a previous scheme was turned down in April and followed a pre-application presentation made to the committee.
Crest Nicholson no longer wished to have access to the site from Mile Oak Road – just Overdown Rise – and the plans included more open space.
He said that the road widening proposal where Fox Way meets the link road was robust.
And he said that his company was putting up enough money to make sure that reptiles were transferred to a suitable alternative site on Whitehawk Hill.
There would, he said, be “a net gain for local biodiversity” although Councillor Lynda Hyde said that travellers frequented the Whitehawk site and had previously damaged wildlife there.
Mr Callcutt also said that soakaways, permeable paving and a cut-off channel would tackle the threat of surface water run-off and deal with the risk of flooding.
He added: “The scheme is fundamentally a sustainable form of development.”
Councillor Michael Inkpin-Leissner had reservations about how trustworthy Crest Nicholson’s undertaking would be.
Councillor Les Hamilton, who has lived in Mile Oak for more than 60 years, said that the land was a water catchment area and was unsuitable for housing.
Southern Water was, he said, “at best lukewarm about this”. He remained concerned about the flood risks and potential water contamination.
He said that the proposed extra lane at the approach to the roundabout – where Fox Way meets the link road – would make little difference.
Councillor Dan Yates, who previously voted against the scheme, noted the need for family housing and the improved wildlife proposals.
And his colleague Councillor Tracey Hill said pointed out that the principle of building homes on the site had been accepted by the council.
Councillor Lynda Hyde said that she objected to building on the urban fringe. The council should prioritise brownfield sites.
She also said that site was an ecological heaven and that the mitigation measures were not enough to change her mind.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty opposed Crest’s previous plans on ecological grounds and said that the developer had taken it much more seriously this time.
But he said: “There is a housing crisis in this city. We have to get on and deliver housing.”
Other members of the council’s Planning Committee also praised the changes made by Crest Nicholson in response to previous objections.
At Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday 13 September) the Planning Committee voted eight to three in favour of the scheme.
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