Lord Bassam has called on Brighton and Hove Council to be brave and give football fans the new stadium they deserve.

Brighton and Hove Albion plan to move from their temporary ground at Withdean to a permanent site in Village Way, Falmer, on the edge of the Downs.

After failing to reach agreement with Brighton University on its preferred site, the club wants Brighton and Hove City Council to amend its Local Plan and accept a site 200m to the south.

Lord Bassam of Brighton, a former council leader, is urging his colleagues to keep faith with football fans and accept the new site.

He said: "I fully recognise there are strong opinions on this matter but councillors have got to rise above this, have some courage and help the club press on.

"The second division is a big opportunity for the Albion, which is a growing club with growing support.

"The club and the city need the stadium.

"The location is crucial. The development would be next to one of the city's most deprived areas, where there is a real need for the 1,000 or so jobs the club believes would be generated."

Lord Bassam will write to the council pledging his support for the proposals and asking the club to meet environmentalists to explain its plans for minimalising the stadium's impact.

He said the club had done well in reducing the effect on neighbours of their temporary ground at Withdean Stadium and saw no reason why its transport plans for the new location should not have a similar effect.

He said: "What I find interesting is other clubs are now following the Albion's joint travel and match ticket scheme.

"Southampton FC are introducing it when they open their new stadium in September.

"I would urge detractors to visit Southampton and talk to the club and the council. They have achieved a remarkable partnership. "Here in Brighton and Hove our potential is even greater because of the way in which the New Deal for Communities has embraced close working with the club to generate new jobs."

The city council will discuss the Local Plan at a special meeting on July 26.

The Argus revealed this week that public opinion is divided on the Albion at Falmer with roughly 4,500 representations for and the same number against.