The revival of a derelict department store into a college has been given the go-ahead despite reservations about its design and the loss of a potential city centre housing site.

Councillors at Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee have granted permission to the conversion of the Buxton’s furniture store in Ditchling Road, Brighton, into a new college with 58 rooms for live-in students within the last few minutes.

A £5 million redevelopment of the site would see the derelict and heavily graffitied store  run by Kings Colleges providing language courses, GCSE and A Level courses, and other pre-university preparation programmes for international students.

An application for 86 rooms with no teaching facility and a restaurant and a gym at the site was granted in May last year.

Green councillor Ian Davey said that the plans would add to the ongoing regeneration of the area for a site that was currently a “real blot” in the area.

But Conservative councillor Linda Hyde raised concerns about the zinc-cladding finish to the building while Labour councillor Bob Carden said that the brownfield site would be better used for housing rather than more student accommodation.

The application was granted by 10 votes to 2.