HUNDREDS of residents fear a major development will prove a nightmare as it could increase congestion, parking problems and pollution in their town.

Developer St Congar has put in fresh proposals for the Toads Hole Valley site, from A27 to King George VI Avenue, which is estimated to cost almost £300 million.

Its plans include building 880 homes, shops and a new secondary school up to three-storeys high, a community centre with a cafe and a “neighbourhood centre” with space for shops including a chemist, hairdresser, optician, cafes, and estate agents.

The Argus: Toad's Hole Valley

the proposals also include a new pedestrian and cycle crossing in King George VI Avenue and more cycle routes to Hove Park, including one along Goldstone Crescent.

However, at a public meeting yesterday at Aldrington Primary School in Edridge Road, Hove, attended by the developer and Brighton and Hove City councillors, concerned residents said they fear the new plans would increase traffic problems.

A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Do we really need another school in Hove?

“We already have three schools in Hove Park so to build another one would mean attracting more people to the area, This would mean more traffic and parking problems. We’re already congested. I think we can use underpasses rather than build a new pedestrian and cycle crossing in King George VI Avenue.”

The Argus:

Other residents also voiced their concerns that if developers went ahead to build new facilities, it could minimalise open spaces.

Labour candidate for Hangleton and Knoll ward, Birgit Miller, said: “In essence it is good to build more homes because we have a housing shortage crisis.

“We are in the situation that we are so desperate. However, I do have concerns about the quality of this application and if it is thorough.

“Affordable housing is our priority, and I really hope that we can be 100 per cent certain the homes will be affordable for families.”

Nigel Jenner, Labour candidate for Hove Park, said: “I think the proposal is poorly thought out. I think there should have been a clearer traffic report with the proposal because more facilities could mean more traffic.

“I agree with the idea of having more homes because there are so many people on the waiting list. But I think building a secondary school on a six hectare plot of land is not a good idea because we already several schools in the area.”

Rita Garner, a member of Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust, said: “Affordable homes are a priority and in the past we have worked with developers and the council to make sure we put housing back into the hands of people who need it.”

Brighton and Hove City Council’s head of planning, Liz Hobden, said: “I understand everyone’s concerns about the development.

“The developers have not opted with building an underpass at King George VI Avenue because underpasses have been proven to be dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists. A secondary school is on the agenda because we are looking at a long-term strategy. The proposals are still under consultation so I encourage everyone to submit your concerns or thoughts.”

Sam Nolan, of Curtin and Co, from the development team, said: “We have worked very closely with council officers to plan this project.

“We appreciate residents’ concerns and at the moment it is only in the early stages. We are bringing many benefits to the community, such as building more than 800 homes where 40 per cent of them will be affordable and 50 per cent of them will be family-sized, a doctors’ surgery, more landscaping and business opportunities. The feedback we have been given will be taken aboard.”