A developer wants to build 72 houses in a farmyard on the edge of Saltdean and has applied for planning permission to Brighton and Hove City Council.
Gold (Saltdean) Ltd, owned by property developer Bradley Gold, from Kent, has submitted a scheme that includes 29 affordable homes at Coombe Farm.
If planning permission is granted, old farm buildings at the end of Westfield Avenue North would be demolished on eight acres next to the Downs.
The farm’s owners – David and Mike Carr – would still have a livery yard and would continue to farm about 350 cattle at Saltdean and Ovingdean where they have almost a thousand acres.
They were granted planning permission for a similar scheme three years ago, having given up dairy farming in 2011 as milk prices became economically unviable.
The latest plans include 108 car parking space, electric car charging points and four homes that would be fully “wheelchair-accessible”.
The homes would be finished with a mix of brick, timber, clay tiles and slate.
A “planning statement” submitted by the Gold (Saltdean) said: “The proposal provides a combination of barn-style terraces including single-storey wheelchair-accessible houses, detached and semi-detached houses.
“The dwelling mix comprises four one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, 29 three-bedroom and 23 four-bedroom houses, of which 40 per cent will be affordable.”
The planning statement said that the site was allocated by the council for housing when it carried out its “urban fringe assessment” in 2014.
It added: “Outline planning permission was granted for 60 houses on a broadly similar site.
“Taking this outline permission as the basis for the scheme, the design team have undertaken a comprehensive review of the approved layout in order to develop and enhance the design.”
Gold organised an exhibition at St Martin’s Church Hall, in Saltdean, last November which attracted more than 200 people and 38 comments.
A “statement of community involvement” submitted by Gold (Saltdean) said: “Some residents were unhappy about the site being developed in any way at all and felt very strongly about the loss of open countryside.
“However, many of those who attended the exhibition made positive comments about the design of the scheme.
“Most of residents who attended indicated that they preferred the proposed scheme to the previously approved scheme, citing design and appearance as improvements.”
The statement of community involvement also said: “It was generally acknowledged that there is a need for more housing in the Brighton and Hove area.
“However, increased demand on local health care services and schools were areas of concern.
“A number of residents felt there was a lack of public transport to serve this location.
“The issues of increased traffic generally and vehicular access during construction were raised by some residents.
“The length of time the development would take to build (three years) was also highlighted. Several people felt that was too long to put up with possible disruption.”
The planning application is due to be decided by early April and could generate a windfall from the developer for local services, such as schools, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The site currently includes a dairy and other farm buildings, a concrete hardstanding, a mobile home and two shipping containers. At the northern end of the site is a large slurry pit and there are a couple of paddocks.
The old farm buildings and the yard are now largely vacant but have been used for variety things including livery stables, vehicle repairs, storage for caravans, motorhomes, construction materials and scaffolding.
The applicant, Gold (Saltdean), is run by Bradley Gold, 55, who runs Gold Property Developments and is a former director of Birmingham City Football Club.
His father Ralph Gold and uncle David Gold bought the Ann Summers business in 1971 and the retail chain and its sister company Knickerbox are now run by his cousin Jacqueline Gold.
Mike Carr, 60, who went to Plumpton Agricultural College, and his brother David, 64, joined their late father Tom in the farming business about 40 years ago.
Saltdean had grown up the hill since the family first kept cattle at Coombe Farm, Mike Carr said, adding: “My father moved here in 1955 and there were about 20 houses. We came on to the farm in the late 1970s.”
Despite the farmyard property deal, he gave no sign that he was ready to retire.