A community stadium at Falmer would generate £13 million a year for the local economy and create 600 jobs, the public inquiry was told.

The ground, which would provide Brighton and Hove Albion with a permanent home, would also help disadvantaged communities in East Brighton, such as the Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb estates.

Scott Marshall, head of economic development and regeneration at Brighton and Hove City Council, said a stadium at Falmer would act as a catalyst for the continued regeneration of East Brighton and bring in £13 million a year.

He said community education facilities planned for the ground would prove a significant asset for the city.

They would help East Brighton in particular, where there were "serious literacy and numeracy problems".

But his claim that the two areas would benefit was challenged by lawyer Charlie Hopkins, who is representing Falmer and Rottingdean parish councils.

Mr Hopkins said that, once completed, the stadium would only provide employment for 168 people full-time, compared to the 92 people working full-time for the club at present.

On match days, he said, this figure was unlikely to rise above 300.

The inquiry also heard the numbers employed by the club would not significantly differ whether the Albion remained in Nationwide Division One or was relegated to Division Two.

Mr Hopkins said there were a lot of single parents in Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb and it was unlikely many would be employed by the football club, even as stewards on match days.

In addition, people would find it difficult to get to and from Falmer if they were travelling from Moulsecoomb or Whitehawk, especially late at night.

Mr Marshall said the 600 jobs included 300 construction workers.

If the project was given the go-ahead, it was estimated up to 1,500 people would be on site.

Many involved in the construction would be recruited from the local workforce.

He said: "A stadium at Falmer would bring significant employment to these estates.

"They would have local jobs on their doorstep."

He said the club would work closely with local communities to provide jobs.

If the green light was given for the 22,000 seater stadium, the Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach company would improve services to Falmer from all parts of the city for both fans and staff.

He said: "The club's active role in the local community has already been an asset to the city and a permanent home at Falmer would enable it to expand this role in East Brighton"