A controversial plan to build a hotel on a former ice rink has been given the all-clear – despite threats of a judicial review.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee needed to take a revote when the five-storey proposal for Queen Square, Brighton, was discussed.

This was because councillors who originally voted down the scheme could not agree reasons to refuse it. Residents called the process “a shambles” at the time and pledged to raise £17,000 to get the decision reviewed at a national level.

However, despite collecting some money, residents are on the verge of giving in after the local authority signed off on the planning approval earlier this month.

Campaigner Shaun Kiddell, who is also an expert on parks, said: “We feel let down. The only option we have is a judicial review but we’re struggling to get the money together.

“Unless we have the backing of a wealthy benefactor then it looks like a long shot.”

Brighton-based architects Conran and Partners are behind the plans to create The Light Apart Hotel on the site near Brighton’s Clock Tower.

The Argus: Sussex Ice Rink in Queen Square

The former ice rink, which has been vacant since 2003, will be replaced by a café and restaurants below 56 apartments. Up to 30 jobs are expected to be created.

However, residents were concerned the development was too tall, believing it would have a negative impact on the nearby medieval St Nicholas’ Church and the 19th century row of houses known as Wykeham Terrace.

The decision to approve it was taken in June. Mr Kiddell said he hoped council leader Jason Kitcat would have referred it back to the planning committee for further consideration.

'Valid decision'

But Coun Kitcat said: “I do understand residents’ concerns, however the planning committee did make a valid decision which has been confirmed to the developer.

“Planning decisions are not something the administration is directly responsible for and I, as leader, do not have the power to reverse decisions of the committee, which unfortunately was the false impression circulated to some in the community.

“Any significant development is going to result in some level of compromise between the interests involved and local stakeholders, as is the case here.”

Paul Zara, of Conran, confirmed the section 106 agreement was signed with the council, adding: “Judicial review is a matter between the council and whoever wants to pursue this.”

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