PEOPLE have united to make a “final stand” in a bid to save green land from development.

Two sites in Coldean, Brighton – on land adjoining the South Downs and Stanmer Estate – have been earmarked for development.

Representatives from groups including Coldean Residents’ Association, Stanmer Preservation Society and Coldean Women’s Group met at the site to make a “final plea”.

Coldean Residents’ Association secretary Rose Bunker, who has co-ordinated a petition to save the green space, said: “A decade or so ago, an urban study conducted by the council proposed this area for designation as a Local Nature Reserve.

“It said that ‘the steep incline has rendered it undevelopable’ so how is it now considered suitable for 242 dwellings in high-rise blocks?”

The proposals to build on the site are within the City Plan Part Two. This is the council’s framework for policy decisions and serves, in part, to encourage developers to build in a certain way.

City Plan Part One was adopted in March 2016 and sets a framework in which all development decisions are made until 2030.

Part Two “supports implementation and delivery” of Part One by allocating additional development sites and setting detailed objectives.

Anna de Wit of Coldean Women’s Group said: “The green space is extremely valuable to our community, it provides a wide range of benefits to our mental, physical health due to the knowledge that wildlife is respected at the same time.”

The City Plan is one of the largest pieces of work the council carries out. It was due to be debated and voted upon at full council on April 2 but has been temporarily postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Councillor Robert Nemeth, the Conservative Group spokesman on the City Plan Part Two, said the council has now changed hands since the proposal. He hopes the new Green administration might change tack.

“Let us be clear, there is absolutely no need whatsoever to build on precious green land in the city,” he said. “The statistics clearly and unequivocally show this.

“The City Plan Part Two document is required to meet a minimum housing target for the city of 13,200 additional homes. Deleting the greenfield urban fringe sites from city plan and developing only on brownfield sites listed in the plan would still leave Brighton and Hove City Council over 1,900 homes above the minimum target.

“There is therefore absolutely no need to build on our precious green land.”