Work on a major development worth £250 million could start in months, after the final barrier was removed.

Brunswick Developments was granted permission to build 853 flats and almost 2,000sqm of shops and leisure space in the south west corner of Brighton Marina nearly seven years ago.

After years of stalling due to the economic climate, the firm yesterday (April 24) received permission to relocate Developers claim it means they can be on site in September with the first homes ready to be |occupied within two and a half years.

Andrew Goodall, of Brunswick Developments, said: “This is the last obstacle removed and I think it’s great to be starting.

“It genuinely shows the improved belief in Brighton and Hove’s economy and Brighton Marina has an increasingly important part to play in that.

“Confidence is returning in what are nationally and globally still very difficult and challenging economic times.”

Mr Goodall said the last few underwater tests would be carried out in the next few weeks before parts were ordered.

He said a start date of September 3 had been set as he did not want to disrupt the marina during the summer months when it was at its busiest.

Underground parking

Barratt Homes is thought to be involved with the scheme although it will now only offer 10% affordable housing.

It comes after Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee approved an extension to the scheme’s underground parking plans last night.

An identical application was approved in 2007 but it expired in 2010.

Speaking against the scheme, Professor John Watts, the marina’s original architect, said: “Brighton Marina was always meant to be a microcosm of Brighton, not some offshore development site.

“We should be working to sustain and enhance the existing marine ecology and biodiversity and not destroy it.”

Marina's character

Speaking after the meeting, ward councillor Mary Mears said there were still concerns it the scheme breached the Brighton Marina Act.

Coun Mears said: “When looking south when stood on the boardwalk at low tide, one will see a concrete wall 30 metre high.

“This goes against the character of the marina.”

But Mr Goodall argued it would make the first phase of the scheme more marketable with parking provided up front rather than waiting for full completion of the development.

Talking point: To what extent do you welcome the plans to develop the marina? What concerns do you have about the scheme?

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