Brighton and Hove's 20 year City Plan unveiled

GREEN: Toad's Hole Valley in Hove

PLANS: A concept plan of what the valley could look like

BRAVE: Green councillor Phelim MacCafferty

CAMPAIGNERS: Labour councillor Brian Fitch with other valley campaigners

First published in News by

Housing, public transport, offices and shops – all are things that we rely on as we go about our daily lives. But making sure enough is provided and in the right places takes years of planning. As decision makers look to agree the development blueprint for Brighton and Hove until 2030 at the end of the month, reporter TIM RIDGWAY asks just what the City Plan will mean to you.

Located on the edge of the city is a vast, green and relatively quiet open space.

For hundreds of years Toad’s Hole Valley, just off King George VI Avenue in Hove, has sat undeveloped while residential and suburban areas have sprung up around it.

Then, in the early 1990s, the 47 hectare site became cut off from the rest of the Sussex Downs with the construction of the A27 bypass.

Two decades on, the privately-owned plot, which is fenced off but home to a plethora of birds, foxes and other wildlife, lies at the centre of a debate which will guide the future of Brighton and Hove.

On the one side are bosses at Brighton and Hove City Council who claim it is the “last piece of the jigsaw” in providing a “balanced” city.

They add without the valley, they cannot provide enough homes, schools, office space, a nature reserve and other facilities to meet future demand and help the city thrive.

On the other are conservationists and anti-developers – labelled by opponents as “Nimbys” – who believe the land must be protected from development.

The future of the valley will be decided in a crunch debate as councillors decide on the City Plan, which will guide development in the area until 2030.

Work on the 20-year plan first began in 2010 and is due to be completed at the end of this month.

Deputy council leader Phélim MacCafferty said: “No one would opt to develop greenfield sites if there were alternative options available. “Toad’s Hole Valley is privately owned, so plans could come forward at any time. “Its inclusion is important because identifying it in the City Plan gives us the opportunity to guide development on the site.”

The council’s Green administration took the bold move to include the targets more than a year ago.

It claims the land, which is owned by the Cook family and was previously earmarked as a potential home for Brighton and Hove Albion, could provide a carbon neutral “One Planet Living” development.

Included in it would be 700 homes, a secondary school, business park and transport links.

It adds failing to include it in the document would leave the authority well short of the national housing target set by Government.

This would open the council up to a lengthy legal challenge with the planning Inspectorate at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer.

Coun MacCafferty claimed the sustainability aspect of the scheme would “put the city ahead of the game”.

But opponents suggest there is another way.

Michael Ray, former head of planning for Hove, made the case at a Regency Society debate earlier this week.

Mr Ray said: “A totally green approach to the city’s future would be to avoid any development of Toad’s Hole Valley.”

He added: “Development of the valley would be the end of the road for the city.”

Further concerns raised were the potential for increasing flooding risk to existing homes and harm to wildlife.

Mr Ray added the local authority needed to focus its search on “windfall sites”, which are developed land which unexpectedly become available.

Labour councillor Brian Fitch, who represents Hangleton and Knoll, home to Toad’s Hole, helped collect more than 1,300 signatures as part of a campaign to Save Our Valley.

Coun Fitch said: “I believe we should be protecting the countryside and what is proposed is just destructive to the valley.”

But among those who disagree are Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth and the Affordable Housing Partnership.

HOUSING

To meet the demands of a growing and ageing population, Brighton and Hove City Council believes it needs to provide 15,800 homes by 2030.

It also has 12,500 people on its social housing waiting list.

However, after asking external consultants to look at every piece of land in the city, the local authority said it can only find enough space for 11,300.

This includes allocating housing in Toad’s Hole Valley.

Speaking at a recent public meeting, Rob Fraser, the council’s head of planning strategy, said: “We do not have major development sites that other cities have.

“We have to prove to the inspector that we cannot provide 15,800 homes.”

The local authority has had its hand bent by new Government guidelines which state there must be a presumption to “favour sustainable development”.

This, it argues, means that even if it did not include Toad’s Hole Valley in the plan, it may be built on anyway.

Mr Fraser added the council had asked neighbouring authorities if they would provide extra homes but the plea was knocked back.

Affordable housing targets will also be changed under the plan.

The current level of 40% will only be kept on sites of 15 or more units.

This will be reduced to 30% for those between ten and 14 units and a 20% financial contribution equivalent on sites of between five to nine units.

This is seen as a way to make development of smaller sites in the city more profitable.

OTHER AREAS FOR NEW HOMES
Toad’s Hole Valley is just one part of the City Plan.

As well as overall housing targets, it highlights what it would like to see in eight major redevelopment areas in the city.

The document also includes six special areas which it wants to protect, which includes the seafront and South Downs.

The local authority also wants to protect Brighton city centre to ensure it remains the focal point for offices and retail.

To avoid “studentification” of areas, quotas will be enforced on the number of student houses in areas such as Coombe Road, Bevendean and Hanover.

However, in a move opposed by some in the private sector, the local authority has ruled out Park and Ride claiming there is not enough space.
The local authority is open to a programme of “informal” sites at existing car parks around the city.

Speaking about the City Plan, Coun MacCafferty said: “We now have a robust and practical plan that will bring forward sustainable development and provide homes, jobs, schools and other facilities that our residents and businesses need.

“It is ambitious and aims to respond to difficult economic circumstances as well as setting out a clear framework for the city’s sustainable growth.”

Opposition councillors have kept their powder dry on the revised proposals.

They will first be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee on Thursday in Hove Town Hall.

Then opposition councillors will present their amendments to the document at a meeting of all 54 members on January 31.

If agreed by the council, it will be published for a six week formal consultation before being submitted to the Government in April.

It is expected the Planning Inspector will examine Brighton and Hove’s City Plan in the autumn before possible adoption in February 2014. 

Comments (13)

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4:18pm Fri 18 Jan 13

HJarrs says...

This is a big document that covers a lot of ground. Why all the concentration on Toads Hole Valley, a plot of land destined for development since being cut off from the Downs in the 90s by the A27 gash through the landscape. Is it that this is the only bit of controversy? Not bad for a 20 year plan then!

Argus, how about a decent series on the plan over coming weeks? Not a cheap headline grabber, but a sensible look at the plan. This is a live document and it would be good if more people were informed and responded to the next update.
This is a big document that covers a lot of ground. Why all the concentration on Toads Hole Valley, a plot of land destined for development since being cut off from the Downs in the 90s by the A27 gash through the landscape. Is it that this is the only bit of controversy? Not bad for a 20 year plan then! Argus, how about a decent series on the plan over coming weeks? Not a cheap headline grabber, but a sensible look at the plan. This is a live document and it would be good if more people were informed and responded to the next update. HJarrs
  • Score: 0

4:21pm Fri 18 Jan 13

gusset snatcher says...

And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........
. or is that earmarked for the next century
And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........ . or is that earmarked for the next century gusset snatcher
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Fri 18 Jan 13

localboy78 says...

gusset snatcher wrote:
And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........

. or is that earmarked for the next century
Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict.

'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'.
[quote][p][bold]gusset snatcher[/bold] wrote: And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........ . or is that earmarked for the next century[/p][/quote]Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict. 'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'. localboy78
  • Score: 0

5:22pm Fri 18 Jan 13

bug eye says...

All the council is interested in is housing housing housing more money for the coffers in parking fees and council tax thats it. the Greens idea of one planet living means every one on the planet to live in Brighton and Hove. We are a seaside resort, despite city status that means nothing really for such a small town, we should keep Brighton and Hove NICHE as that is what the city thrives on, ruin that and we are just another boring seaside town with boring residents.
All the council is interested in is housing housing housing more money for the coffers in parking fees and council tax thats it. the Greens idea of one planet living means every one on the planet to live in Brighton and Hove. We are a seaside resort, despite city status that means nothing really for such a small town, we should keep Brighton and Hove NICHE as that is what the city thrives on, ruin that and we are just another boring seaside town with boring residents. bug eye
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Fri 18 Jan 13

censored says...

How about converting the masses of unused office space within the city (Preston Park, buildings along Grand Parade to name but two areas) into flats?
How about converting the masses of unused office space within the city (Preston Park, buildings along Grand Parade to name but two areas) into flats? censored
  • Score: 0

6:59pm Fri 18 Jan 13

gusset snatcher says...

localboy78 wrote:
gusset snatcher wrote:
And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........


. or is that earmarked for the next century
Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict.

'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'.
Don't you think it puzzling that Worthing can spend £20 million replacing the Aquarena, which in itself is a better facility than the Prince Regent Swimming Complex, for an area that serves 100,000 people, whereas Brighton and Hove can only allocate £1 million to repair outdated and inadequate facilities serving a population of over 250,000 residents. If this council invested properly in the facilities it desperately needs, there would probably be a lot fewer slobs in the locality..... judging by the content of your post, you are probably 1 of them
[quote][p][bold]localboy78[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]gusset snatcher[/bold] wrote: And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........ . or is that earmarked for the next century[/p][/quote]Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict. 'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'.[/p][/quote]Don't you think it puzzling that Worthing can spend £20 million replacing the Aquarena, which in itself is a better facility than the Prince Regent Swimming Complex, for an area that serves 100,000 people, whereas Brighton and Hove can only allocate £1 million to repair outdated and inadequate facilities serving a population of over 250,000 residents. If this council invested properly in the facilities it desperately needs, there would probably be a lot fewer slobs in the locality..... judging by the content of your post, you are probably 1 of them gusset snatcher
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Fri 18 Jan 13

NickBrt says...

Please do something about studentification of Hanover now not in 20 years. Please.
Please do something about studentification of Hanover now not in 20 years. Please. NickBrt
  • Score: 0

8:07pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Eugenius says...

For fellow urban planning geeks, here is the link to the City Plan (warning, large pdf) http://www.brighton-
hove.gov.uk/download
s/bhcc/ldf/Proposed_
Submission_City_Plan
_Part_One.pdf

There is no way that the council can "avoid any development of Toad’s Hole Valley" given that it is privately owned and not part of the national park. Negotiating for eco-friendly development and a new school is a very good result in the circumstances.

http://www.toadshole
valley.co.uk/
For fellow urban planning geeks, here is the link to the City Plan (warning, large pdf) http://www.brighton- hove.gov.uk/download s/bhcc/ldf/Proposed_ Submission_City_Plan _Part_One.pdf There is no way that the council can "avoid any development of Toad’s Hole Valley" given that it is privately owned and not part of the national park. Negotiating for eco-friendly development and a new school is a very good result in the circumstances. http://www.toadshole valley.co.uk/ Eugenius
  • Score: 0

8:14pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Nosfaratu says...

NickBrt wrote:
Please do something about studentification of Hanover now not in 20 years. Please.
Send in 'Freddy Kruger'.
[quote][p][bold]NickBrt[/bold] wrote: Please do something about studentification of Hanover now not in 20 years. Please.[/p][/quote]Send in 'Freddy Kruger'. Nosfaratu
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Eugenius says...

Shame to read that Labour and Tory councillors are "keeping their powder dry" (which sounds destructive) instead of contributing, given that this is a 20 year plan for whole the city.
Shame to read that Labour and Tory councillors are "keeping their powder dry" (which sounds destructive) instead of contributing, given that this is a 20 year plan for whole the city. Eugenius
  • Score: 0

9:59pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Dave At Home says...

What another waste of money....
What another waste of money.... Dave At Home
  • Score: 0

11:06pm Fri 18 Jan 13

onerob says...

localboy78 wrote:
gusset snatcher wrote:
And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........


. or is that earmarked for the next century
Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict.

'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'.
Not a city in the "geographical sense"? What sense is that, exactly?

Also, the Queen (i.e. the government) granted Brighton and Hove city status in 2000. It's a done deal.
[quote][p][bold]localboy78[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]gusset snatcher[/bold] wrote: And what about providing decent sports and leisure facilities fit for the largest city in the South East of England, instead of the existing small town facilities that we have....... an ice rink.... a velodrome..... indoor athletics track....... 8 lane 50M swimming pool with diving boards fit to host National competitions........ . or is that earmarked for the next century[/p][/quote]Erm, that's because Brighton, and Hove, are small towns......the 'city' is only an honorary appelation that describes the status of the local government administrative strict. 'Brighton and Hove' is not a city in the geographical sense, proven further by the fact that there isn't a charter confirming it as an official 'city'.[/p][/quote]Not a city in the "geographical sense"? What sense is that, exactly? Also, the Queen (i.e. the government) granted Brighton and Hove city status in 2000. It's a done deal. onerob
  • Score: 0

10:53am Sat 19 Jan 13

inadaptado says...

bug eye wrote:
All the council is interested in is housing housing housing more money for the coffers in parking fees and council tax thats it. the Greens idea of one planet living means every one on the planet to live in Brighton and Hove. We are a seaside resort, despite city status that means nothing really for such a small town, we should keep Brighton and Hove NICHE as that is what the city thrives on, ruin that and we are just another boring seaside town with boring residents.
Do we live in the same place? Because in the B&H I live in there is a massive shortage of affordable housing. But it seems you don't want the city to grow, so would you be so kind as to explain how you are going to do that? Fence the city? Kick out anyone you don't like?
[quote][p][bold]bug eye[/bold] wrote: All the council is interested in is housing housing housing more money for the coffers in parking fees and council tax thats it. the Greens idea of one planet living means every one on the planet to live in Brighton and Hove. We are a seaside resort, despite city status that means nothing really for such a small town, we should keep Brighton and Hove NICHE as that is what the city thrives on, ruin that and we are just another boring seaside town with boring residents.[/p][/quote]Do we live in the same place? Because in the B&H I live in there is a massive shortage of affordable housing. But it seems you don't want the city to grow, so would you be so kind as to explain how you are going to do that? Fence the city? Kick out anyone you don't like? inadaptado
  • Score: 0

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