We are angry. And our residents are angry after sitting through what barely passes for acceptable community consultation by the promoters of the Toads Hole Valley site in Hove in the form of an online meeting.
You may have read the piece written by one of our residents in Goldstone Crescent on this site. This piece outlined the concerns of the residents, particularly in Goldstone Crescent.
The Aldi site at Court Farm was mentioned. The promoters of Toads Hole Valley are aware of it, they said, and are monitoring its progress, but that’s where that ends.
The absence of leadership at all levels in bringing these two developments together is staggering in terms of what it means for the city in general and for Hove in particular.
Our residents in Hove Park have for a long-time expressed concerns over what the increase in traffic as a result of the Toads Hole Valley development would mean for residents along Goldstone Crescent, Woodland Drive and all the way along to the Fonthill Road junction.
As the local councillors, we are particularly angry that the junction of Goldstone Crescent at the Old Shoreham Road will be enlarged to create more capacity.
This cannot be acceptable under any circumstance and the esteemed consultants whose fingerprints are all over this development site will have a lot of explaining to do while their corporate managers parade environmental, social and good governance credentials. These are the Atkins, the Vectos and the Mott MacDonalds of this world.
Curiously, the promoters and their agents said at the online meeting that the Brighton and Hove data on traffic shows no growth of traffic on the road network in this part of the city and likely no future growth as well.
So if this is the case, then the question for the promoters is why build an additional 180 houses on the site?
This of course takes the total to 1,062 units, well above the 700 allocation for the site in City Plan Part 1. And it is the best reason to chuck this back at the promoters when it comes before the Planning Committee and say, “No, we will see you at the Planning Inspectorate.”
But ours is a risk-averse council that has prioritised risk management over the benefits for citizens so we have little faith in the decision-making process.
What’s also really making us more angry is that having ditched the secondary school in the original application, which was never going to be built by the way, not for the foreseeable future, this removal was being used by the promoters to justify the decrease in projected traffic and therefore the increase in housing numbers.
These promoters and their partners in presenting the project the way they did, showed total disrespect for the residents of this part of the city.
Cycle lanes were conveniently thrown into the conversation every now and again even though, as residents and cyclists in the area have told us, these are not the routes they want.
In terms of the planning application for the site, this is of course for an outline application, meaning it’s a parameter plan with little or no detail.
The masterplan predates the pandemic and does not even attempt to respond to the changing urban, infrastructure or climate requirements.
This is an outline scheme, in a city that is shrinking, with a lead promoter, no assigned housebuilder and no sense of how the “as built” development will contribute to the city’s net zero journey by building out a greenfield site in the 2020s to a 1970s masterplan.
Councillor Samer Bagaeen and Councillor Vanessa Brown represent Hove Park ward on Brighton and Hove City Council.