Work expected to start on farmland homes next spring

Work is expected to start next March on building 72 houses on farmland in Saltdean after councillors voted in favour of the scheme.

Gold Property hopes that it will take about two years to complete work on the £30 million project at Coombe Farm, in Westfield Avenue North.

Planning permission had previously been granted for 60 homes on the “urban fringe” site on the edge of the South Downs National Park.

The latest planning application sought permission for four one-bed homes, 16 with two bedrooms, 29 with three bedrooms and 23 with four bedrooms.

Some would be terraced houses while others would be detached or semi-detached houses, with 105 parking spaces on the estate and two cycle spaces per home.

The scheme won the backing of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee during a “virtual” meeting this afternoon (Wednesday 2 December).

But Saltdean Residents’ Association chairman Jon Ray said that people were at a loss as to how such an “oversized and inappropriate” development had got so far.

Mr Ray said that residents’ main concerns were about the effect on local services, with no NHS dentist in Saltdean and the doctors’ lists full.

He also said that the scheme would bring disruption, lead to overcrowding and add to the pressure on sustainable transport.

Construction traffic would need to use narrow roads, particularly Westfield Avenue North and Coombe Vale which are both bus routes.

He said: “Extra cars will add to the already terrible problems on the A259.

“The council is asked to approve a development that is detrimental to the lives and mental wellbeing of many residents, in contradiction of the council’s own sustainable transport ideals, and far too large.”

A visualisation of one of the “yards” proposed at the Coombe Farm site

A letter from Conservative councillor Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, which includes Saltdean, echoed many of Mr Ray’s concerns.

She said: “There is a medical centre in Saltdean, but with doctors surgeries already closed in Rottingdean and Woodingdean, residents from these areas are travelling to Saltdean Medical Centre. A development of this size will put more pressure on doctors and dentist in Saltdean.

“To build any large development without proper infrastructure is a serious problem for the future, leaving new residents with a home but no local support available, giving them no option but to travel outside of the area on to the busy A259 to access.”

Planning agent Chris Frost, a director of Future Planning and Development, spoke for Gold (Saltdean), owned by Bradley Gold, from Kent.

He said that the new scheme was designed to enhance views to and from the national park.

He said: “Residents have understandably expressed concern about the potential impact of construction traffic on surrounding roads.

“We take construction management very seriously and are working with highways officers to ensure works will minimise disruption to surrounding residents.”

He committed to keeping people informed and providing a direct point of contact.

A visualisation of “the Common” proposed for the Coombe Farm site

Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh, who also represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, voted against the scheme.

She asked how a development with 215 bedrooms could generate just 17 primary school places, according to figures provided by officials. And she asked why there was no detail of developer contributions for schools, recreation, parks and transport.

Councillor Fishleigh also asked about “the car park that is the A259” as there was no reference to the major route in and out of Saltdean in any of the traffic management papers.

After the meeting, she said: “In two years’ time, people living in this new development will be coming to me as the local councillor asking why there are no places at the local schools and no spaces at the doctors’ surgery.

“Why the A259 is a nightmare. Why their bins are missed so often. Why the 27 bus fails to turn up – and takes longer to get to Brighton station than it takes to get from the train station to East Croydon.

“I will point them to the Labour and Green councillors who only care about Saltdean when it’s election time.”

Councillor Mary Mears

Green councillor Sue Shanks visited the site and said that she liked the design of the homes which would replace old farm buildings.

She said: “It’s a good-looking development. We’ve agreed to build on that place as part of the urban fringe. It might be the last one in Saltdean.

“We are always stuck for housing spaces and it will be a good use of that space.”

Councillor Shanks said that she hoped the 27 bus route would become more frequent.

Councillor Bridget Fishleigh

Conservative councillor Joe Miller voted against the previous smaller scheme because it involved building on a green field.

He said: “I didn’t think that scheme was right and I don’t think this scheme is right. I think this scheme is worse than the previous one.

“It’s a regressive step. This is far too dense and, particularly, the northern element is far too dense at 21 homes per hectare.”

Labour councillor Nick Childs said that he had reservations about travel links and school capacity but voted for the scheme as a good design on an old farm with derelict sheds.

He said: “What is particularly persuasive is 40 per cent of the homes on this development are affordable and we have a desperate need for affordable family homes in the city.

“A lot of the homes provided are family homes. We have to build somewhere – we can’t bury our heads in the sand here – ideally on brownfield sites but there are not enough of those to access.”

Forty per cent of the properties – or 29 in total – are intended to be “affordable homes”, with 55 per cent for rent and the rest for shared ownership. Most of the affordable homes would have three bedrooms.

Gold Property would also be expected to pay developer contributions to the council totalling £85,000 towards public art and the local employment scheme.

A further payment, known as community infrastructure levy (CIL) funding, is still to be agreed.

  1. Valerie Reply

    As quality of life trumps commuting to jobs more & more in the internet age, expect an exodus from the south coast counties in years to com,e as much as is already happening now in London.

  2. catherine k Reply

    I hope all are affordable houses for people on low incomes, on universal credit and single parents

    we also need to a basic income for people who lost job during covid and to increase taxes for people on over 40k a year

  3. J.Hall Reply

    The whole of Saltdean is being ruined. You only have to look at the absolute monstrosities they are building in Falmer Avenue to know that the area is now heading downhill fast.
    They have decimated Peacehaven with over development without getting the infrastructure in place, Rottingdean is having it’s whole character changed with the development of St Aubyns and like Peacehaven, Saltdean and Rottingdean do not have the school places or medical facilities available to cater for ever more people.
    When are they going to do something about the absolute gridlock on the Coast Road in the mornings and evening? They pay lip service and then nothing is ever done. All theses extra cars coming onto the Coast Road from Saltdean and Rottingdean will mean no one will be going anywhere.

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