Brighton Marina boss Andrew Goodall said that he was disappointed after councillors spoke out against plans to build a thousand homes on the waterfront.
But he added: “Planning is subjective. I watched the meeting and we’re disappointed we didn’t win their backing although, overall, it was a very fair debate.”
Mr Goodall, chairman of the Brighton Marina Company, which is behind the £350 million scheme, said: “Nobody minds feedback if it’s constructive.
“We will take it away and consider what we heard. Some of it resonated – and we’re humble enough to listen.”
Labour councillor Nick Childs, who represents Queen’s Park ward, slated the proposal to build nine blocks, including a 28-storey tower, dismissing it as “a Poundshop Dubai”.
He spoke out at a “virtual” meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee on Wednesday (30 September).
But members were told that planning permission had already been granted for a scheme which included a 40-storey tower on an eight-acre site at the western end of the Marina.
They were also told that the revised plans were now the subject of an appeal, with an independent planning inspector expected to decide whether to approve the project.
Councillors criticised the design, lack of balconies, limited public space, low-quality gardens, lack of play areas, limited “affordable” housing and insufficient parking.
An independent valuation suggested that 12.5 per cent of the flats should be affordable because any more could render the scheme financially unviable. The council’s policy is to aim for 40 per cent.
Given the high level of service charges at the Marina, there have been suggestions that any affordable housing should be off-site, funded by a “commuted sum” paid to the council.
Former council leader Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, addressed the Planning Committee this week. The Conservative councillor said that the Marina was turning into “a concrete jungle”.
But independent councillor Tony Janio gave his support to the scheme. He said: “I remember the Marina in the 1980s. What a dump it was then following bankruptcies.
“People have done some sensible developments over the years and deserve a medal – and I don’t see why they shouldn’t for this as well.”
The first phase of the scheme included almost 200 flats – all of which are understood to have been sold or let – as well as food and drink outlets such as restaurants at ground floor level.
Despite the criticisms this week, Mr Goodall said: “We’re still totally committed to the Marina and its future at this very challenging time.
“This does represent a potential significant investment in the city – and at a difficult time.”