Planners have given their backing to a £260 million scheme to build hundreds of flats for rent and a retirement village on a rundown trading estate in Hove.
Almost 200 people have objected to the six blocks – up to 15 storeys high – on the Sackville Trading Estate, in Sackville Road, Hove, and the neighbouring railway goods yard.
The plans are for 581 flats, which could house almost 1,500 people, and a “care community” of 260 retirement flats able to house almost 500 people.
Only 58 homes – or 10 per cent – will be classed as “affordable”. This is less than the 40 per cent sought by Brighton and Hove City Council but more than the zero level accepted by the official District Valuer Service.
On Wednesday (10 July) councillors are expected to debate the scheme and decide whether to grant planning permission.
The scheme also includes shops, offices and a health and wellbeing centre as well as 289 parking spaces.
By the time that building work is complete on the nine-acre site, the scheme is expected to support about 330 jobs.
But neighbours are concerned about the extra traffic so close to the busy Old Shoreham Road crossroads with Sackville Road and Nevill Road as well as road safety and extra pollution.
They are also concerned about the extra parking pressure, not least because Legal and General currently use the site for parking for staff who work in L&G’s nearby offices.
And there are also criticisms of the height of the proposed tower blocks, the density of the scheme and the small size of many of the flats.
Newly elected Conservative ward councillor Samer Bagaeen, a professor of planning, has sent a letter of objection, on “sustainability” grounds.
Councillor Bagaeen said that the scheme did not comply with the Labour-run council’s “climate emergency declarations” which are also supported by the Greens.
But if planning permission is granted, the developers are expected to pay more than £3 million to offset the local effects of the scheme.
Almost £460,000 will fund road, transport and travel schemes, more than £410,000 will be available for education – likely to go to Blatchington Mill and Hove Park schools – and £450,000 will pay for public art.
More than £290,000 is set aside for the Local Employment Scheme and almost £1.7 million for open spaces, sport and recreation. This includes more than £600,000 allocated towards work in Hove Park and Stoneham Park.
A report to the council’s Planning Committee recommends approving the scheme subject to landowner Coal Pension Properties and developer Moda Living formally agreeing to pay £3.3 million in developer contributions by the end of October.
Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum, Hove Civic Society and Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership have all written to the council to support the scheme.
But one commenter on the council’s website, whose details are redacted, said: “An out of town development I saw in Cheshire when I lived there had 600 houses for which they added a dual carriageway for access – not a single access on to an already gridlocked city street.
“This is insane. Make it smaller. Get two accesses. Use compulsory purchase on one of the businesses behind to access Newtown Road.”
Another neighbour wrote: “The only entrance into the proposed development is from Sackville Road, which is already overused, busy and dangerous.
“Works traffic using only this entrance will make the situation worse in relation to safety, traffic and pollution in an already heavily populated area.
“The current road system, which has been upgraded recently, will not be fit for purpose.”
The council’s transport team said that if the industrial estate was fully occupied, it would generate more traffic than the proposed scheme.
A resident in the Artist Corner area, which includes Leighton Road, Frith Road, Poynter Road, Landseer Road and Princep Road, said: “What is proposed is too large for the size of the site and too intensive.
“Key issues about its impact have not been considered and provided for in the plans as currently set out by the developers, especially parking and road safety.
“Parking in the Artist Corner area is already at a premium, with many residents frequently unable to park near their houses in the evening.
“The certainty of overflow of cars from this very intensive development will have a significant impact on current residents, many of whom have small children.”
The 289 proposed parking spaces include 74 for the retirement village, nine for the shops and community spaces, four for the health centre, 45 for the offices and 157 for the flats.
The £457,000 proposed developer contribution towards sustainable transport in the area is provisionally earmarked for a number of projects.
One proposal is to instal traffic lights with “early start” green lights for cyclists at the Old Shoreham Road crossroads with Sackville Road and Nevill Road. Similar traffic lights have already been fitted further east along the A270 Old Shoreham Road.
The council has also said that a Brighton Bike Share hub for 20 bikes could be sited near the proposed tower blocks in Sackville Road.
The plans for 581 flats include 114 studios, 203 one-bedroom flats, 241 two-bedroom flats and 33 with three bedrooms. The scheme also includes 10 “live/work” units.
The 58 affordable flats look likely to include nine studios, 20 one-bedroom flats, 26 two-bedroom flats and three with three bedrooms. They would be rented at 75 per cent of market rates.
If planning permission is granted, Moda will be expected to rent all 581 flats on the site – rather than sell them – for at least 15 years.
The retirement village is a mix of 29 one-bedroom homes and 231 with two bedrooms, with a number of communal facilities.
The scheme proposes office space totalling almost 3,900 square metres, as well as 671 square metres for shops – and a health and wellbeing centre, taking up 946 square metres.
The council’s Planning Committee is due to meet on Wednesday (10 July) at Hove Town Hall to decide whether to grant the scheme planning permission. The meeting is scheduled to start at 1pm and should be open to the public.