THE University of Sussex has been given the green light for a major expansion after the Planning Inspectorate granted their appeal.
The university has been given permission to build more than 4,000 student rooms and add 60,000 square feet of teaching space to their Falmer campus after the original rejection by Brighton and Hove City Council was overturned.
Planning Inspector Ken Barton concluded in his report, which was published yesterday, that the “few slight disbenefits” of the university’s masterplan scheme would be “far outweighed” by the benefits it would generate.
Resident groups said the decision was “not the end of the matter” and they will consider further legal action and a potential judicial review over the potential harm caused to nearby neighbourhoods.
The decision, which will help accommodate the university’s masterplan ambitions to expand by around a third to 18,000 students within three years injecting £500 million in to the local economy, follows a planning inquiry held in the city at the start of the month.
The scheduled eight day inquiry was cut short after the city council withdrew its opposition as its chances of defending the rejection from July last year narrowed.
Despite the council’s withdrawal, the planning inspector went away to consider the evidence already submitted during the six days of the inquiry.
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Caroline Lynch, of the Coombe Road Local Action Team, said: "Residents of Brighton will be very disappointed at this decision and our local democratic rights have been ignored by the University of Sussex by railroading this application through against our wishes. “
John Duffy, University of Sussex registrar, said: “The careful development of our Falmer campus will allow us to provide a better education and experience for our students, whilst delivering substantial investment and more jobs in Sussex and the wider region.”
Councillor Julie Cattell, chair of the city council's planning committee, said: "We are pleased that the decision has been issued without delay by the Planning Inspectorate as it gives the university and the local planning authority certainty about the way forward.
“This can only be a good thing for everybody."
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby described the decision as “fantastic news” and a boost to the local economy adding that additional housing on campus would reduce pressure on family homes in the city.
A University of Sussex spokeswoman said it was “too early” to say when work might begin with more detailed plans set to come before the city council’s planning committee before redevelopment begins.