DEVELOPERS were told to go back to the drawing board at a public exhibition of plans for a major new housing development.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting to display plans for 825 new homes in Toad’s Hole Valley in north Hove, residents voiced concerns over road planning which they said would be both potentially dangerous and cause brutal traffic jams.

Others said the site should include a medical centre because of the shortage of GPs in the area, and several asked whether flooding - already an occasional problem for nearby residents - would be worsened by the development.

The firm behind the project, St Congar, is working with landowners the Cook family to bring forward the development.

The company expects to parcel out the land to other firms rather than built on it themselves. A company spokeswoman said they were taking onboard the concerns and would be looking to come back to residents with adjusted proposals in the new year. After that would come a planning application, with the earlier expected date for works to begin being autumn 2019.

More than 150 people viewed the plans and spoke to St Congar representatives at the Hangleton Community Centre event, following a turnout of close to 300 at the first exhibition held on Saturday in West Blachtington.

The exhibitions were the first chance to view the plans for the long-vacant farm site, which are also available at

The site is allocated for development in Brighton and Hove’s City Plan and is considered key to ensuring the city can meet housing demand.

The plans are not finalised but include a proposal for 825 homes, of which half would be “family sized” and 40 per cent would be affordable.

Office, research, and light-industrial space - to include workshops and artists’ studios - would be provided over more than eight acres.

Controversially the plans call for the narrowing and slowing of King George VI Avenue which runs to the south of the 99 acre site.

Cycle stop lines and a diverted cycle route intended to provide safer access for cyclists would be added.

Nearby resident Nina Messer said: “They have to go back to the drawing board and develop the road better because at the end of the day, they’re going to make millions and then go home, and we’re going to end up stuck with it.”

Alan Davies, who lives half a mile away from the site in Wayland Heights, said: “It’s very interesting that something is now happening, because this place has been deserted for a long time. That’s very positive.”


THE one thing everyone could agree on at Hangleton Community Centre on Tuesday evening was that the city needs more homes.

Most were positive about the planned layout of the houses proposed for Toad’s Hole Valley, and even the stylish modern designs of the buildings.

But if each of The Argus’s interviewees began by saying “we need more homes”, what they said after the inevitable “but” will be what worries the two dozen St Congar employees who were on hand to speak to residents.

Almost everyone questioned the ramifications of plans to narrow King George VI Avenue on the southern edge of the development, and to add traffic lights and more turnings.

Anthony Vokins said: “There could be so many accidents, for one thing.

“The bottom of King George VI Avenue is already very congested and they’re going to make it even more so.

“They’ve got buses that are proposed to come into King George VI, but where are they going to cross over into the new development?

“If they’re going to put in traffic lights, then buses and cars will be stopping on the hill in icy conditions. What then?

“That is going to be a disaster.

“I think a lot of it is dangerous.

“And the biggest problem in Brighton and Hove is the parking of the cars, and it is not going to be helped by having another 825 houses and their cars.”

Anthony Davies said: “I’m just really concerned about the traffic.

“The whole road system into Brighton, not just this area, but all along the A27, is already chock-a-block.”

Councillor Nick Lewry made the point that while the main plan for the site includes a secondary school, proposals for a new school at Brighton General Hospital have been brought forward since Toad’s Hole Valley plans were first launched.

So with a Toad’s Hole school unlikely, children who live in the development’s 825 homes will also have to cross the busy road, causing further traffic problems, especially if pedestrian crossings are then added.

The councillor also asked why the plans did not include footbridges over the road.

Conservative group leader Councillor Tony Janio pointed out that King George VI already carries the burden of acting as the A27 relief road when an accident or roadworks close the dual carriageway.

Several people were worried the plans did not include a medical centre – a concern raised in The Argus by Councillor Vanessa Brown last week.

Virginia Foot, from Hove, said: “I’m a bit sceptical. I thought there’d be a bit more information.

“Doctors are closing down in Hove, and in Brighton, as it is.

“If there’s this many more houses, and this many more people, if there’s no doctors, I’m a little concerned about that.

“I thought there might be a doctor’s surgery.”

Jade Tomes, who is considering moving to the development with her boyfriend to start a family, said: “One of the main concerns for me would be GP practices.

“I work for the NHS locally and I understand there’s been a lot of closures recently in general practice.

“So I’d be keen to ensure there are enough services and amenities for healthcare, to provide for the population that’s going to be living there.”

But she and her boyfriend were both impressed with the design of the houses themselves, which they called “stylish, light and modern.”

Simon Harmsworth, an architect working for St Congar, said reaction to house designs had been positive.

He said: “Everyone seems happy with the look of the place, and the design of both the houses and the layout.

“There’s a general acceptance that it’s going to happen.”

More than 11,000 letters were sent by St Congar to residents in neighbouring streets and wards prior to the exhibitions, and last week staff went door to door to let people know where and when the displays would be going ahead.

Tony Blackburn, operations manager for St Congar, said the firm had been delighted with turnout and acknowledged the general concerns over traffic and especially King George VI Avenue.

He added: “St Congar will be reviewing all comments with our expert consultants in order to address the feedback from local residents.”