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News - 5 November 2012
Toads Hole Valley

Support for Toads Hole Valley development from unlikely sources

Brighton & Hove Conservative Party are not opposed "in principle" and Friends of the Earth lend outright support to the development of the valley on the outskirts of town for much needed homes.

A tweet from the official account of the Brighton & Hove Conservative Party in response to a question about Toads Hole Valley confirmed that the group are not against it in principle although they have concerns about the exact number of houses.

On Friday, prolific tweeter Jonathan Tilley challenged, “It is unfortunate that the Conservatives don’t support development of Toad Hole Valley. It would provide much needed housing” and he received the reply from the Conservative Party, “We haven't taken a position yet - only ward cllrs have spoken against. We feel 750 homes is too many but not against in principle”.

Meanwhile in The Big Interview” in the Saturday edition of the Argus, in answer to the question “Do you welcome the plans for major development in Hove’s Toads Hole Valley?” Chris Todd from Friends of the Earth said, “I can understand why people are concerned about Toads Hole Valley. But unfortunately the battle for Toads Hole was lost during the National Parks enquiry. Without the national landscape designation it doesn’t have any protection. So it’s going to happen anyway and the main focus must be on getting it right.

Much of it is privately owned and the government seems determined to relax planning rules so we need to make sure we don’t get a development we don’t want. We do need more housing and most green activists are not immune to those considerations. There’s no point protecting the environment if we can’t enjoy it as a species . . . . . there’s an opportunity to do something at Toads Hole that could be a landmark development if it is done right.

It needs to put Brighton & Hove on the map as a blueprint for how to develop sensibly on greenfield land”

To have any control over the development of Toads Hole Valley it has to be included in the City Plan which will require the support of the ruling Green administration and some of the opposition. Because it is a ward split between Labour and Conservative, the two local councillors Dawn Barnett [Con] and Brian Fitch [Lab] have joined forces to oppose any development and neighbouring ward councillors Vanessa Brown and Jayne Bennet from Hove Park ward presented a petition to full council on 25th October.

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT

Support for the development of the valley is coming thick and fast from a wide range of partnerships and organisations. The reasons why its development makes sense have been well rehearsed [see earlier story].

Chris Todd is quite right that the new National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] will give an automatic presumption in favour of any development of the valley [see earlier story] as long as it is tagged “sustainable”. But the levels of sustainability demanded will be nowhere near those on offer in the outline vision document [see earlier story] and there will be little chance of employment space, a school or an ecology park being thrown into the mix.

Local petitioning against any development was started long before the vision document was published and petitioners had no idea what they were objecting to other than any development whatsoever.

But now that the owners have produced their outline ideas there is every possibility that even the nearby residents will support the plans. The wholesale removal of traffic from King George VI Avenue and its conversion into a greenway will transform the quality of life for those people living parallel to the Avenue on King George VI Drive and a host of other smaller streets nearby. Meanwhile on the western bank of the valley the residents of Downland Drive and the wider West Blatchington area will get an Ecology Park right on their doorstep that will put the current scrubby area of SNCI to shame.

King George VI realigned to the other side of the valley

And of course, the entire city will get access to the same open parkland, a new school, employment space and new homes. As support for development grows by the week, politicians that oppose these benefits need to come up with some serious reasons why.


Read related items on:
Development sites
Core Strategy
Local Development Framework
Brighton & Hove Conservative Party
Friends of the Earth
Todd, Chris
Toads Hole Valley


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