THE man who started the King Alfred project says he has already found a replacement developer.

Crest Nicholson announced on Tuesday that its £400 million plans for the city council-owned land on Hove seafront were no longer going ahead.

Now the man who won the original bid, Rob Starr, has insisted that not only is he still at the table – he has also found a new partner to complete the works.

The Hove resident, who runs the Starr Trust charity which helps young people achieve their potential, said the council would be “crazy” not to work with him.

He said: “I brought Crest to the table, not the other way round. I started this with the council four years ago and brought Crest in three years ago – though I’m not overly proud of that now.

“Although Crest has withdrawn, myself and the team certainly haven’t.

“One developer is particularly keen to literally step into Crest’s shoes. They are able to deliver bid exactly as is and financially viable too.”

The plans include a £50 million sports facility along with hundreds of homes, 20 per cent of which would be affordable.

There is a total of £23 million of public money – £15 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and £8 million from the council – approved to assist the developer. Crest Nicholson pulled out saying the “ambition of the scheme in these uncertain times is too great”.

Mr Starr said he could not confirm who the prospective partners are at this stage.

But he described them as “incredibly decent people” who would work in the interests of the public.

He said the new partner would do everything in-house and would not be focused on its bottom line.

He said this would make the project viable where Crest could not.

He said: “We don’t want to be working with a partner if they don’t see this as a community project. The council have to work with us, they’ll be crazy not to. If we walk away, it will be another ten to 15 years before anything is built.”

He said the plans could be revisited if needed to bring them to fruition.

Labour city councillor Chris Henry is positive Mr Starr can bring the development to Hove. He said: “Affordable housing isn’t the only argument, there’s obesity, wellbeing and environmental arguments to be made too.

“I know the contracts are ready to sign it just needs some positive leadership.”

Cllr Henry said Hove MP Peter Kyle, who is “110 per cent” behind the scheme, will meet council bosses in September.