THE proposed sale of land to the Royal Mail has been put on hold, the council has announced.

Senior councillors at Brighton and Hove City Council were due to decide whether a long lease should be granted to the Royal Mail for Patcham Court Farm.

The existing sorting offices in North Road, Brighton, and Denmark Villas, Hove, would be demolished and replaced with nearly 200 homes - 110 in Brighton and the rest in Hove.

The announcement was met with a backlash from Patcham residents, who described the plans as “breathtaking” and say a new sorting office on Patcham Court Farm would have a negative impact on traffic and parking in the area.

On Friday, the council announced that a decision had been made to withdraw the reports on the sale of Patcham Court Farm that were due to be considered by councillors on the council’s Policy and Resource Committee.

“This is so that officers can continue to explore every viable option for housing on the sites being vacated by Royal Mail and councillors from all political groups can continue to listen to and respond to residents’ views,” the statement said.

“It’s imperative that councillors feel they have all the available information and options so that they can make an informed and fully considered decision about the future of Patcham Court Farm and securing Royal Mail jobs in the city.

“This will take more time to provide.”

Earlier this week, Labour said they are “dismayed” by the council’s approach to the deal and called for a pause in proceedings.

“Labour councillors are disappointed with the Greens’ timid approach, which seeks to prioritise the short-term gains from selling off the family silverware over meeting the demands of residents and tackling the housing crisis head on,” a Labour statement said.

“Selling off council assets and land, without negotiating to extract sites in return to build affordable homes, is short-sighted and frankly a dereliction of duties to any party serious about addressing the housing need in Brighton and Hove.”

There have been a total of eight approaches for the site in Patcham since the early 1990s, including a Royal Mail proposal in 2018.

The council says it has since worked in collaboration with Royal Mail “to assist them in developing a scheme which consolidates their existing sorting office services” to the site in Patcham.

Patcham councillors Alistair McNair and Anne Meadows were given confidential notice of the plans on November 9 last year and started a petition on January 24 this year.

Cllr McNair previously raised concerns over the plan.

“The Royal Mail had four years to plan, and residents get very little time to give their feedback,” he said.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Our plans would create 85 staff parking spaces on site, as well as 13 motorcycle spaces and 40 bicycle spaces.

"We anticipate no pollution problems that haven’t been accounted for in our plans. Our proposed mitigation measures include acoustic fencing to limit the potential for any noise pollution from the planned development.

"The proposed delivery office would be carbon neutral, on the road to net zero. A fully electric fleet of vehicles would be introduced.

"This proposed delivery office will enable us to continue offering our customers the high standards they expect from Royal Mail."

Local residents were also due to hold a protest against the plans on Sunday.