COUNCILLORS have voted to end a project with developers over a proposed housing scheme originally designed to bring 750 new homes.

Lewes District Council cabinet councillors have this morning voted to agree to terminate the New Homes project.

Councillors were told that restrictive covenants on two key sites, the Buckle and Normansel Park Avenue in Seaford, restricting the scale of development made the scheme financially unviable.

The meeting heard that independent legal advice confirmed that any attempts to lift the covenants would take time, expense and might not be successful.

The New Homes project between the council, Karis Developments and Southern Housing Group has been mired in controversy with opponents criticising the lack of consultation on the project which was initially launched in 2012.

Speaking after the meeting, Lewes District Council leader Andy Smith said: “We have an acute shortage of affordable homes in Lewes district and my priority remains addressing this local need.

“However, this cannot be achieved by entering into contracts that expose the public purse to undue risk.

“The finances on this project do not stack up and it was the correct decision to terminate the agreement today.

“We will now reconsider our options for affordable housing in the district, and to this end I hope to begin an open and transparent consultation with residents and businesses on new proposals in the coming months.”

A Southern Housing Group spokesman said: “While we’re naturally disappointed that this project is no longer going ahead, we’d welcome the opportunity to work with Lewes District Council in the future.”