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City College bosses "absolutely delighted" after £79m redevelopment plans approved
4:00am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
College bosses claimed they are "absolutely delighted" after £79 million redevelopment plans were given the go-ahead.
As it looks to “transform the future of further education in city for next 40 years”, City College Brighton and Hove wants to revamp its Pelham Street campus in Brighton.
Bosses claim the proposal of a series of high-rise buildings of up to ten-storeys containing teaching rooms, 442 student homes and up to 125 properties would create “exceptional learning opportunities” for 10,000 students a year.
But, with the 1.28-hectare site sitting in the heart of North Laine, residents claimed the short and long-term impacts were unacceptable.
After listening to objections, Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee voted through the plans at its meeting in Hove Town Hall yesterday.
Lynn Thackway, principal of City College Brighton and Hove, said: “We are all absolutely delighted. Our project will transform and secure the future of further education in Brighton for many decades to come.
"This project will play a key part in the wider regeneration of the City and create a scheme which we and the City can be proud of."
With six councillors for and six against, the scheme only was approved on the casting vote of committee chairman Phelim MacCafferty.
Speaking at the meeting, Coun MacCafferty said: “I believe the overarching net effect of these facilities for the city outweigh the [resident’s] concerns.”
The £79 million scheme, which would create 141 construction jobs, will see the 1960s Pelham Tower as well as the Cheapside, York, Trafalgar and Gloucester buildings demolished.
Development will be in three phases and take up to five years, with the first seeing the creation of an eight-storey college building on the car park.
The proposal also includes a new public square and traffic calming measures in a widened Pelham Street.
However, it would lead to the loss of more than 120 car parking spaces with users asked to use nearby multi-storeys.
Peter Hoffman, the college’s chairman of governors, admitted there would be less floor space for teaching but it would be much more suited to the college as it goes forward.
Among those against the plans were North Laine Community Association and Brighton Society.
Speaking on behalf of dozens of objectors, ward councillor Lizzie Deane said it was “not a necessary redevelopment but a vanity project”.
Conservative councillor Geoff Wells claimed it was an “overdevelopment” of the area, adding the student density was too high.
Green councillor Ben Duncan said: “This isn’t really about development of further education, it’s a housing development which would enable development of further education.”
But Labour councillor Bob Carden said: “I think we have to move forward and I’m fed up of coming to this committee and seeing every development of any significance kicked into touch.”
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