A developer is preparing to appeal after plans to build hundreds of homes on a former gasworks site were thrown out.

St William spent more than four years on its proposals for 495 homes, including 11 blocks of flats up to 12 storeys high, on the site in Brighton.

The planning application included 2,791 square metres of commercial floor space at ground floor level and a “green link” between Marina Way and Roedean Road.

The fate of the £280 million scheme was decided at the end of a six-and-a-half-hour meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee at Hove Town Hall last week.

The meeting was told there had been more than 1,700 objections to the scheme from neighbours and others including national heritage organisations.

The planning committee voted seven to three against the scheme because it would be too big and cramped, would harm the area’s historic heritage and contained too few family homes.

Campaigners shed tears of joy as the controversial plans were rejected.

But St William has now said it is preparing to appeal against the decision and said the development would provide much needed homes on an “under-used” site.

The two-hectare plot, about the size of three football pitches, is next to the A259 and near Black Rock, Brighton Marina and East Brighton Park. The site has been empty for a long time and is mainly used for storage but also contains two redundant gasometers and supporting gas infrastructure.

A spokesman for St William said: “We are disappointed with the planning committee’s decision to refuse this application, which was recommended for approval by planning officers, and are preparing for an appeal.

“We have worked closely with the planning and design team at Brighton and Hove City Council over the last four years to develop a balanced and high-quality proposal which would regenerate an under-used brownfield site to deliver 495 low-carbon homes, 40 per cent of which would be affordable homes subject to attracting grant from Homes England. 

“These carefully designed plans would also deliver high-quality public open space, new pedestrian and cycle routes and a mix of commercial uses to support up to 195 jobs and bring lasting economic benefits to the city.”