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Concern over Brighton and Hove City Plan housing targets
Undeveloped countryside may have to be built on after a government inspector queried the “restrictive approach” of a blueprint for Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove City Council spent two years drawing up and consulting on the City Plan, which will guide development in the city until 2030.
But just weeks after submitting the final document, the government inspector has raised concerns about the local authority’s housing targets.
With council officials claiming there is only enough space for 11,300 homes – way belowthe 19,000 needed to meet demand – the inspector has questioned if the local authority looked closely enough at the potential of the land on the outskirts of the city.
This could mean the council having to go back to the drawing board and allocate homes in undeveloped suburban areas.
Paul Burgess, of planning firm Lewis and Co, said: “It puts real pressure on the council either to prove they are robust or look at other sites.
“If the council carries on, the risk is the plan is turned down and that doesn’t help anybody.”
The council’s plan already includes building on Toad’s Hole Valley.
Now plots at Hangleton Bottom and Mile Oak Fields, where potentially hundreds of extra homes could be built, and smaller plots in Westdene, Saltdean and Rottingdean, may have to be considered.
The letter from inspector Laura Graham, which has been seen by The Argus, said her “preliminary view” was that the council needed to reconsider whether such a “restrictive approach to development” was “fully justified”.
Tony Mernagh, of Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “Given that the previous planning inspector did advise the council to go down every rabbit hole looking for land for housing it does not surprise me that the new inspector has suggested there are other sites suitable for development.
“The council would be wise to heed the advice.”
A council spokesman said the search for possible sites has already been “extended and exhausted”.
He added: “This is especially challenging given the city is surrounded by protected landscape and the sea, but we now have a robust and practical plan that will bring forward sustainable development providing homes, jobs, schools and other facilities that residents and businesses need.
“We are confident the plan is sound and look forward to the public examination of the plan later in the year.”
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