DEVELOPERS are hoping to install a “living wall” with the pollution-absorbing power of nearly 300 trees.

The “CityTree” wall would sit above a bench designed by engineering firm Green City Solutions on the former site of the Amex Wedding Cake building in Edward Street, Brighton.

Behind wiring on the vertical surface of the wall would be varieties of moss which naturally absorb pollution.

The manufacturer claims the bench has the same air- purifying power as 275 real trees.

A spokesman said: “The ability of certain moss cultures to filter out and absorb air pollutants such as particulates and nitrogen dioxide makes them ideal air purifiers – but in towns and cities where air pollution presents the greatest challenge, mosses are barely able to survive, due to their need for constant water and shade.”

But the bench would use protective, shade-giving plants to create an environment where the specially cultivated mosses could thrive in urban conditions.

It would be powered by solar panels and collect rainwater and automatically redistribute it using an inbuilt irrigation system.

Steve Eccles, project director for developer First Base, said: “We are acutely aware of the health issues that air pollution poses to cities like Brighton and Hove.

“That is why we are committed to ensuring that our plans for Edward Street with over 150 new trees, 45 plant species and the inclusion of initiatives like the City Bench will have an impact on the health and wellbeing of local people.

“These alongside up to 2,000 new jobs, three new public areas and an additional £2.4 million in local spend will bring activity to the area and revitalise this vital part of the city.”

The development would create 160 homes and 160,000 square feet of office space on the site of the former Amex House.

Buildings between three and eight storeys high would be interspersed with walkways and public spaces.

The plans for the project do not meet the council’s target of 40 per cent affordable homes.

Just 33 of the 160 homes – or 20 per cent – would be offered at the “affordable” level of 80 per cent of market value.

But the developer will open its books to the council and the public in an attempt to show that profit on the scheme – expected to be about 15 per cent – is not excessive.

Responses to the planning applications, which is expected to be heard in May or June, are overwhelmingly negative with 94 objections lodged online and only 23 in favour.