Battles between developers and residents over housing projects are set to be repeated across the city during the next few years, politicians have warned.
The message comes after a Hyde Homes proposal for 46 houses in Saltdean was met with disapproval by residents in consultations and the housebuilder has already gone back to the drawing board.
The company has told The Argus it will now amend its designs for the development, which nestles between the edge of the city and the South Down,s before submitting a planning application.
Residents at a public exhibition at Saltdean Lido last month were said to be unhappy with the intended use of the land off Falmer Avenue.
Politicians have warned that the city faces an onslaught of proposals eating away at the green space of Brighton and Hove during the next few years in light of the City Plan proposals for almost 1,200 new homes in the city’s green spaces.
The opposition to the latest Saltdean proposal is similar to that which met the Ovingdean plans when they were first released.
Today’s news that they have submitted a formal application is sure to fire up opposition once more.
Commenting on the Saltdean proposal, Davy Jones, Green parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said there did not seem to have been much thought from the developers on how to make the development look attractive or eco friendly.
He said the residents he had spoken to were unhappy with the proposals and that he believed they would wage a campaign against the development.
He added: “This is going to happen time and time again. There are going to be a lot of similar campaigns. If you build on the green spaces of Ovingdean and Woodingdean there is the risk that it could become one large urban sprawl.
“This has all come about because of the way the Government has changed their position on planning and left councils in a very difficult position.”
Joe Miller, a prospective Conservative councillor for Rottingdean Coastal Ward, said the initial plans were far “too dense for the plot size” and the design was “very unsympathetic to its unique location” on the edge of the South Downs National Park.
He added: “Development here would place a greater strain on local infrastructure such as roads and schools, as well as potentially increasing the risk of flooding.
“There are far more appropriate sites for housing in the city than Falmer Avenue.”
Georgia Wrighton, director of CPRE Sussex, said the flurry of proposals were a result of over ambitious Government housing targets which were too difficult for councils to meet.
As a result she said local authorities were struggling to get their local plans accepted and developers were taking advantage and submitting “opportunistic applications”.
She said: “Planning reforms have allowed have-a-go developers to put forward market housing developments on greenfield sites against local wishes.
“Councils are often caught in an impossible conundrum because of a loophole in the planning system which allows development to trump local planning priorities if their Local Plans haven’t received the government’s final seal of approval- known as the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
“The system allows for developers to put local authorities and communities under siege where they do not have an official Local Plan in place. At the same time, councils are struggling to produce plans which properly balance the economic, social and environmental needs of the district, being required by national diktat to search for much higher housing numbers than they can sustainably plan for.”
The Argus contacted Hyde Homes but the company was unavailable for comment.