A £3.8 million centre for students with special needs has been planned.

It would cater for between 60 and 70 students with severe learning difficulties and other complex needs.

Brighton and Hove City Council has two existing centres for special needs students over 16.

They are Ash Cottage at Downs View Special School in Woodingdean and Cherry Trees, managed by Hillside Special School in Portslade.

Students from Ash Cottage and Cherry Trees have been working with staff and students at Varndean College for many years.

Students' numbers are rising and neither location would be able to meet growing demand in the future.

Both have problems with disability access.

The new centre at Varndean would have 80 per cent of the cost paid by the Government.

The rest would come from existing council budgets and the sale of the Cherry Trees site.

Schools councillor Pat Hawkes said: "Ash Cottage and Cherry Trees do a marvellous job.

"But this excellent proposal is vital to securing the tailor-made, inclusive facilities the increasing numbers of students in this sector need and deserve."

Varndean headteacher Alan Jenkins said: "We are delighted funding is now available to realise long-held aspirations."

The council's policy committee will consider approving the proposals on Wednesday.