Neighbours criticise college over temporary classrooms

Neighbours have objected to a college’s request to keep a temporary classroom that was due to be removed.

Varndean College said that the hut in question contained the main power supply for a cluster of temporary classrooms, “making its removal logistically challenging”.

The sixth form college has asked Brighton and Hove City Council to amend the conditions of a planning permission to enable it to keep the hut and remove a smaller one instead.

Two “modular classrooms” were due to be removed after the college was granted planning permission to build a two-storey science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) centre.

The latest request has drawn 19 objections but officials have advised the council’s Planning Committee to agree to the college’s proposal.

Huts known a 40-72 and 48-50 were supposed to be removed within three months once the new STEM centre opened.

But NTR Planning, which is acting for the college, said: “Since this permission was granted, it has become apparent that Hut 48-50 is in better condition than some of the other classrooms on site.

“In addition, the main power supply for the entire cluster of temporary classrooms runs through Hut 48-50, thereby making its removal logistically challenging.”

Varndean College, in Surrenden Road, Brighton, has proposed removing hut 47 instead, with construction said to be nearing completion.

The college also asked for an extension to the deadline to remove the temporary buildings. They were due to be gone by Friday 17 July.

The planning consultants, NTR, said that this was a “challenging” deadline as fewer contractors were working on the site for health reasons.

One neighbour, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “I strongly object to this application unless a hut of the same size as that in the original condition is substituted for removal.

“It seems the college has a history of gaming the temporary permissions system and it’s time to stop.

“More and more of this open space is being lost to building and it is vital that the field is restored where promised.”

Another objector said: “By ‘offering’ to remove a smaller hut, far less land will be returned to the green open space than was originally intended by the council when it imposed these conditions and agreed to the construction of the large STEM building.

“These huts are unattractive (earlier demands that they be painted a more sympathetic colour have been ignored by the college) and it was quite clear that they would need to be removed once the additional teaching space had been provided by the new STEM building.

“They were always intended to be temporary.”

The council’s Planning Committee is due to decide the application at a “virtual” meeting which is due to start at 2pm on Wednesday (10 June).

The meeting is scheduled for webcast on the council’s website.

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