A HISTORIC cinema could now be demolished and replaced with student flats after councillors rejected proposals to turn the site into rented apartments.

ThreeSixty Development said they would make a new application to build student accommodation at The Astoria after their latest plans were rejected yesterday.

Planning committee members at Brighton and Hove City Council voted nine to three in support of council officer’s recommendations to reject the plans for 70 flats, ground floor small business space and a community room.

The firm said it could submit a new application for the cinema site in Gloucester Place in less than six weeks.

The grade II listed cinema already has consent for demolition, a six-storey office, restaurant and residential block which expires in 2018.

Council officers described flats in the proposed £14.3 million scheme as “sub-standard” claiming potential residents would suffer from a lack of natural light, privacy and excess noise.

Councillors raised similar concerns with planning committee chairwoman, councillor Julie Cattell, describing the flats as the kind of housing that “we used to pull down”.

She said: “If this is the only choice that people have then it is a very poor choice.”

Conservative Carol Theobald said she was concerned about the substandard flats and a complete lack of car parking while Labour councillor Adrian Morris said the scheme failed to deliver affordable housing for families.

Questions were also raised about the nature of the managed rented property with Conservative councillor Lee Wares questioning whether it was student housing by another name.

Christian Davis, ThreeSixty Development’s transaction and development director, said the Astoria was their second foray into the private rented sector and that the type of scheme they were proposing was very popular in London.

Mr Davis said: “There seemed to be some confusion around what we were providing.

“We are predominately a student accommodation company so our best bet is to put in a student accommodation application.”