RESIDENTS and councillors have spoken passionately in their battle against a retirement house builder planning a three-storey apartment block.

About 60 people turned up at Brighton Town Hall for the second day of the inquiry into McCarthy and Stone’s plan to build the block in Old London Road, Patcham.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald delivered a heartfelt speech about why the planning application should be rejected.

His speech was met with cheers from residents.

He said: “I have the great privilege of being a councillor for the Patcham ward.

“When I think of the area of Old London Road it is a high flood risk area.

“In 2000 and 2001 it was hit by horrendous floods that left people not even being able to use their toilets.

“Could you imagine if another flood hit having to leave your house in the early hours of the morning to go and find a portable toilet, use it and have to go back to your bed.

“I have a lot of sympathy for the residents.

“There were about three million gallons of water that flooded the area then.

“Residents got themselves pumps to keep their buildings dry.

“The site is also right next to a conservation area and it will affect a lot of trees and wildlife surrounding the area.”

Almost 100 people had turned up to protest on Tuesday, the first day of the inquiry.

Yesterday, residents young and old held placards saying “say no to McCarthy and Stone”.

Other residents cited the character of the building as an overriding reason against the application being accepted.

Alice Johnson, 19, said: “I have lived in Patcham for my whole life.

“The site will be directly next to where I live.

“I have a younger sibling and we often play in the garden.

“How will it be having a development site right next to us?

“We also have a vegetable patch in our garden – how will it affect this?”

She said she would find it hard to study with the noise of a construction site on her doorstep.

Adrian Howard lives in the flats in Old London Road with his elderly mother.

Mr Howard, 55, said: “Family homes will be destroyed to make room for the apartments when there is already a shortage.

“It makes no sense to do that and to me it’s practically done.

“I don’t even know how it’s got to this point.”

Concerns were raised about the materials being used for the building as well as its character and scale in comparison to the area.

Sarah Collins, case officer for the application, agreed that the character of the building did not fit in but did not see a problem with the materials.

Kenneth Brown, representing McCarthy and Stone, said: “The building is not in a conservation area so that is not a problem.

“The character of buildings in the area is different and it is an architect’s job to make the building stand out.”

He said the materials for the roof would make it appealing.

The hearing is due to end today.