Councillors identify 39 'open spaces' as potential sites for 1,060 homes

Land such as this near Bulstrode Farm, Ovingdean, has been identified as possible sites for housing on the urban fringe of Brighton and Hove.
Land such as this near Bulstrode Farm, Ovingdean, has been identified as possible sites for housing on the urban fringe of Brighton and Hove.

Brighton and Hove needs up to 24,000 new homes over the next 15 years.

See our map and list of the main sites with potential for housing

Brighton and Hove needs up to 24,000 new homes over the next 15 years. Despite repeated efforts, city councilors and their officers have found sites for only 11,300 in the draft City Plan.

A government inspector has told the council to leave “no stone unturned” in the search for places where we can build homes for our children.

Part of the search should take in dozens of green spaces on the edge of our city, the planning inspector said.

Next week, councillors will be asked to approve a list of 39 “urban fringe” sites to submit to the planning inspector in the hope that she will finally pass the City Plan.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, the Green Party councilor and chair of planning, said: “The government is holding our green spaces to ransom.

“If they don’t get the sites they want for development, virtually every open space in our city is up for grabs.

“This government raid on our green spaces means that if we want any protection or high development standards across the city, we have to accept their demands.

“Otherwise the whole of Brighton and Hove will be exposed to the full-blown effects of the government’s National Planning Policy Framework and a virtual free-for-all for developers.

“Of course homes are needed - but new developments have to be appropriate.

“This is yet another appalling example of the government’s dodgy definition of localism.”

He called the government’s policy a “developers’ charter” and urged councillors of all parties to support the proposals being put before the council’s policy and resources committee next Friday (July 11).

He said that these at least provided protection for parks and playing fields, cemeteries, ancient monuments, and sites of special scientific interest.

Councillor Mac Cafferty said that the 39 sites would not necessarily be turned over to builders and they accounted for just 7% of the urban fringe.

He said: “This won’t solve the problem. It’s our way of saying we are looking under every stone.”

Even if they were turned into housing, they would provide just 1,060 extra homes out of a shortfall of up to 12,000.

The total area being offered up is 31 hectares, or almost 77 acres, compared with the 45 hectares or 111 acres at Toads Hole Valley, one edge-of-town site already allocated for housing.

Labour councilors will be discussing the proposals in the next few days. Last night, Warren Morgan, the Labour Group leader, said he had “grave concerns”.

He said: “The city finds itself in this situation thanks to the deeply-flawed National Planning Policy Framework brought in by the Tory government at Westminster, which is weighted heavily in favour of developers.”