Life could finally be breathed back into the former Co-op building in Brighton’s London Road.

The 80-year-old property has stood empty since 2007 but the latest plans for the site look set to be approved.

Developers are proposing accommodation for 351 students as well as a retailer on the ground floor.

Previous plans, which involved a new building and accommodation for 407 students, had been refused planning permission by Brighton and Hove City Council.

But the new proposal retains the original 1930s facade and has scaled down the number of units.

It has been recommended for approval by council officers and is to be debated at a council planning meeting tomorrow.

Paul White, from Genesis Town Planning, which represents the Watkin Jones Group which is behind the scheme, said the development would benefit the area.

He said: “We have always hoped the scheme would kick- start the regeneration of the whole London Road area.”

Car free

As part of the scheme students would be asked to sign a tenancy agreement encouraging them not to bring cars, to ease congestion and pressure on parking spaces.

Students would also be encouraged to use the existing public transport links.

It would be managed by a specialist student accommodation company but the University of Sussex would allocate tenants.

Charles Dudley, the university’s director of residential, sport and trading services, said: “The London Road site would enable us to offer housing to undergraduates and postgraduates who would otherwise be housed in the private sector.”


Not everyone is happy with the plans, with the council receiving 45 letters and three petitions, with a total of 227 signatures, objecting to the development.

Among the complaints are noise pollution and serious social disruption to the local community.

Ward councillors Pete West and Lizzie Dean have also |written to the council to object.

They say they are concerned the influx of students could lead to a rise in off-licences and takeaways in the street that will not enhance the local economy.

If approved, the site could be ready for the 2013/14 academic year.

Talking point: Are more student flats needed in Brighton? What would you like to see on the site?

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