FLATS for almost 400 students will be built on the site of an old church, if the latest plans go ahead.

Developer McLaren Property has submitted plans for a new four- to seven-storey building in the Moulsecoomb area of Brighton, providing flats for almost 400 students as well as office space.

The old St Francis of Assisi Church, a recycling centre, and two cottages will be demolished to make way for the development if plans are approved by Brighton and Hove City Council.

A new community centre will be provided for the church to run, while the recycling centre will be moved to a new site.

The building will sit at the corner of Lewes Road and Moulsecoomb Way and will contain rooms for 378 students, as well as enough office space to support 90 jobs.

The developer said the student flats would be "up to 40 per cent cheaper" than current city centre private student accommodation It added; "This pricing should be competitive enough to fill every room."

250 studio flats and 128 communal "cluster" apartments are planned.

Alongside the flats and offices, a community centre will be built on the site of the old church.

Only 12 car park spaces will be provided, although parking for 288 bikes is planned.

Some residents have already criticised the plans, with one saying students already "dominated" Moulsecoomb.

The unhappy resident said: "I feel the land should be for actual affordable family housing, not a huge profit-making business which will not benefit the community. It will create noise, litter, and fill local transport.

"The developer is not putting enough into the local community to warrant this kind of profiteering.

"Moulsecoomb needs a small supermarket, a skate park, and improved parks, not 400 more transient residents who are not families or putting anything into our community."