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Councillor loses bid to stop properties being built in Hove valley
A green valley will be marked for development after an 11th hour bid to save it collapsed.
The City Plan will guide the development of Brighton and Hove until 2030, mapping out housing targets, transport aims and land to build on.
As councillors prepare for a crunch debate tonight, The Argus can reveal that one of the key issues – whether to build or not to build on Toad’s Hole Valley in Hove – has already been resolved.
The Green administration believes the 47-hectare site could provide a carbon neutral “One Planet Living” development, consisting of 700 properties, a secondary school, a business park and a hub for transport.
But Hangleton and Knoll councillor Brian Fitch, who spearheaded the Save Our Valley campaign, could not find a seconder for his proposal to completely protect the site from development.
The Conservative group was also prevented from delaying building until 2020, as this was ruled “unsound” by town hall planners.
Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald added: “It is extremely disappointing.
“While I accept that planning officers are entitled to give their professional advice on matters, they should not be entitled to stifle democracy in this way.”
A series of other amendments were revealed yesterday (January 30) ahead of the crunch meeting in Hove Town Hall at 4pm today (January 31).
Coun Fitch, who has collected more than 2,000 signatures against building on Toad’s Hole Valley, said: “I will be defending my residents.
“There’s far too much planned for the site and it will not happen.
“At this stage developers promise the earth and then when the realities of finance hit they start chopping away.”
Labour group leader Gill Mitchell said: “We have always allowed ward councillors to have their own views and Brian’s view from day one was to oppose it.
“One the basis that jobs and homes are needed in the city, Labour will be supporting it.
“However we’re aware that whether what is proposed in the conceptual drawings will happen, we do not know.”
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 City Plan
The City Plan will guide the development of Brighton and Hove until 2030.
Tonight councillors will set key housing targets and eight major areas for redevelopment will also be identified.
The document includes six special areas which the council wants to protect, including the seafront and the 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 a park and ride scheme claiming there is not enough space.
At the meeting tonight, both Conservative (18 councillors) and Labour
(13) will present amendments to the plan.
The Green administration (23) is not proposing any changes.
It will be published for a six week formal consultation before being submitted to the Government in April.
It is expected that a planning inspector will examine the plan in the autumn before possible adoption in February 2014.
1) Zoned approach to car free housing - should be restricted to city centre with good public transport links
2) Affordable housing - revert back to current policy of 40% affordable housing on sites of ten units of more
3) Housing densities - flexible targets for locations across city
1) Brighton station - recognise importance of area as major transport hub
2) Support for Brighton Main Line 2 project, opening up direct line from the city to London via Lewes and Uckfield
3) School places - work with groups to ensure sufficient provision either through new or expanded schools
4) Relax sustainability aspect in new builds to not hinder development
5) Edward Street/Eastern Road - re-route traffic away from area before Royal Sussex County Hospital revamp
6) Further protection for urban fringe, the green spaces inside bypass
7) Reinstate park and ride
8) Call for extra care housing
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