Worried neighbours are mounting a campaign against a skip company operating from a farm on the edge of the South Downs.

The farm at the end of Westfield Avenue North in Saltdean, a smart residential road of detached houses and bungalows, was the base for Coombe Farm Dairies which closed earlier this year.

Several of the buildings formerly used by the dairy are now empty but a skip company called Rabbit is currently operating from the site.

People who live nearby are worried it could lead to other industries moving into the farm buildings. They are also concerned about skip and other large lorries using the road, especially as young children live in the area.

Planning permission to allow a large barn to be used for light industry was turned down by Brighton and Hove City Council's planning committee this week.

The city council sent a planning enforcement officer to Coombe Farm following complaints about the skip firm.

Farmer David Carr was told he had to apply for planning permission and 20 residents have already sent in letters of objection to the subsequent application.

Ward councillor Lynda Hyde said: "This is a totally inappropriate use of farm land. Nobody should be allowed to operate a skip business from a farm without planning permission.

"There are worries surrounding farm land could be used for dumping waste and the farm used as a landfill site. We don't want Coombe Farm to become an industrial estate."

Wendy Charlton, 54, of Westfield Avenue North, said: "We are worried about any increasing industrial use of the farm. If there was another entrance then things might be different but every lorry going to the farm has to come up this road."

Michelle Scott, 34, who lives next to the farm entrance, said: "I have four children and they play on their bikes outside. The skip lorries come thundering up the road, making it dangerous for the children.

"This is not a suitable area for a skip company to operate from."

Tony Lees, also of Westfield Avenue North, who is leading the campaign against the increasing industrial usage, said: "We will remain watchful and vigilant."

Mr Carr, 50, who has been involved with the family-run farm all his life, said: "There are only six skips on the site and two lorries.

"They are not using farm land for dumping. We have applied for planning permission for the skips and we shall see what happens.

"I don't want a fuss about this. There is now less traffic going to the farm than when the dairy was operating."