The operator of one of the most famous hotels in Sussex is the preferred bidder for a multi-million pound development.

De Vere Village Hotels wants to turn the derelict Patcham Court Farm, Brighton, into a 128-bedroom four-star hotel complex.

The firm, which is an offshoot of the company which owns The Grand on Brighton seafront, proposes to transform the 3.6 acre site into a health and fitness centre, with a restaurant and some office space.

The bid has the backing of Brighton and Hove City Council which agreed to hand over the local authority land last week.

De Vere Village Hotels would manage the site, which is near the junction of the A27 and A23, on a long lease of 125 years.

About 250 jobs are expected to be created at the hotel with a further 25 in the newly-created offices.

A planning application is expected to be submitted by the end of the year.