Proposed houses on the site of a gasworks would pose health risks to neighbours, campaigners have claimed.

Protesters gathered at the Old Gasworks in Roedean Road, Brighton, to call for plans for nearly 500 new homes on the site to be reconsidered.

It comes as Brighton and Hove City Council considers plans to develop 12-storey tower blocks on the site.

Liberal Democrat campaigner Stewart Stone said: “The proposed development of the gasworks by Berkeley Homes represents a major health risk to those within a two-mile radius.

“Digging foundations through highly toxic land releases harmful contaminants into the air, land and water table. Residents in Southall are still suffering with major health issues caused by a similar project there by the same developer.

The Argus: Stewart Stone at Brighton Old Gaswork protestStewart Stone at Brighton Old Gaswork protest (Image: Brighton Liberal Democrats)

“While I completely support the need for more housing across the city, the gasworks site is wholly unsuitable in its current state. There are better options to use this space and the health and wellbeing of our community must be protected at all costs.”

More than 100 people joined a protest at the Old Gasworks on Thursday evening calling for councillors to block plans to develop the site submitted by Berkeley Homes' subsidiary St Williams.

The plans include several 12-storey tower blocks with 495 homes, including 14 townhouses.

Around 40 per cent of the homes would be “affordable” after a grant from Homes England.

A spokesman for St Williams said: “Our proposals for this brownfield former gasworks site would deliver 495 energy-efficient and high-quality homes in a sustainable location within the city, along with new public open space, pedestrian and cycle routes and a mix of commercial space which would support up to 195 permanent jobs and generate significant economic benefits.

“We believe that bringing well-connected brownfield sites back into use is the most sustainable way to meet housing needs and reduces pressure to build out into the countryside.”

A special planning meeting has been called on May 22 to decide the plans.

More than 1,700 objections have been received so far.