Over two years after a plan for 112 affordable homes on a disused sports field was rejected by Brighton & Hove Council a new planning application has been lodged. This one might succeed because it is backed by the resident’s association and will improve the quality of the greenfield site.
The old Braybon’s sports field is private property in a residential area just west of Redhill Close in Withdean and has been disused for 14 years. It has been the subject of a variety of planning applications during that time, all rejected, and comment from a variety of planning inspectors.
The Sussex Overseas Housing Association (SOHA) application for 112 homes would have been the first major development in the city with 100% affordable housing but it was rejected on the grounds that brownfield sites should be developed before greenfield sites.
The new application is for 36 homes and will only develop less than half of the 2.7 hectare site. The remainder will be community space consisting of informal recreation area, a nature conservation area, and a hard play area. The homes will be five, four and three bedroom houses with no apartments and they will have front and back gardens. Fourteen of the houses will be ‘affordable’ managed by the Brighton Lions Housing Association (BLHA).
After extensive consultation with the Withdean and Westdene Residents Association (WWRA) the developers feel that they have a scheme that will satisfy all parties and avoid the serial objections that dogged the 2004 application for a much larger development. Indeed the application is made jointly between the WWRA and Braybons.
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
The Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership supported the 2004 application by SOHA. The scale of this proposed development is a shadow of that earlier application and it will deliver just over 12% of the 112 affordable homes originally envisaged.
In a city that needs thousands of new affordable homes this is a pity in many ways but it seems unlikely that the site will be developed unless this compromise is made. The provision of 14 affordable and 22 commercial houses is better than the current situation where anyone that sets foot on the land is effectively trespassing.
It is also a good example of a greenfield site that is of little worth actually being improved by a development proposal. There are others in the city that could similarly benefit from sensitive development.
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