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Site remains empty after plan for Patcham Court Farm is dropped
A major development site remains off the market months after a proposed hotel plan fell through.
Patcham Court Farm, a 3.6-acre plot at the junction of the A23 and A27, has remained unused for more than 15 years.
But after De Vere Villages pulled out of plans for the site in May, Brighton and Hove City Council have yet to find another partner.
This week, the local authority admitted the site was not on the market, but remained hopeful it could be used for 6,500sqm of employment floor space.
With other green spaces now being allocated for redevelopment, some have questioned why council bosses continue to look for firms to build on the former farm.
Conservative councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “This is an excellent site with great transport links and so it is very surprising that the council has been unable to bring it back into use for such a long time.
“The fact that it has been so difficult to let makes a bit of a mockery of the decision last week by the Green and Labour parties to allocate 25,000 square metres of land at Toad’s Hole Valley in Hove for office use.
“If they can’t get any takers for Patcham Court Farm, arguably the better site, then what hope have they for Toad’s Hole Valley.”
The site was created in the mid-1990s when it was cut off from the rest of farmland by the A27 bypass.
De Vere agreed in February 2011 to take out a 125-year lease to create a hotel, leisure club and office space, estimated to bring more than 250 new jobs.
However, in May the group backed out, claiming it was looking for a site nearer to the city centre.
The scheme has now been dropped from the council’s major projects plan which outlines the progress of big schemes in the city.
However in the City Plan, the blueprint for Brighton and Hove until 2030, it said the area has a potential of 6,500sqm of employment floor space.
Tony Mernagh, of Brighton and Hove Economic Development Partnership, said: “We made our view clear when the De Vere hotel proposal was put forward that we did not think it was a good strategic use of the land.
“It’s important that the few sites we have for development do not languish any longer than they absolutely have to.
“We look forward to a more strategic proposal for the site.”
Jim Woodard, of The Preston and Patcham Society, said: “I’m not sure there has been a huge impetus by the council to sell it, but they have to get the best possible deal for it.”
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