4 March 2016

Planning for the future - next stage for key site

Councillors at the Economic Development & Culture Committee on 10 March will be asked  permission to consult on options for developing planning guidance for the Toads Hole Valley site in the west of the city.

Brighton & Hove City Council has drawn up an ‘Issues and Options’ paper which considers delivery of a mixed-use development on Toads Hole Valley that would provide housing, employment space and improved infrastructure to meet the future needs of the city. If agreed, representatives of the local community, ward councillors, residents bordering the site, landowners and developers will be invited to give their views on the level of guidance needed to support development.

The results would form the basis of planning guidance for Toads Hole Valley to be used when considering planning applications.

Options include:

  • 700 new homes,  with half being family homes and  40% affordable – the consultation would look at opportunities for providing starter homes as part of the housing mix
  • 25,000 square metres of employment space, creating high-tech, modern offices and training for local people
  • New community facilities that could be shared with adjacent neighbourhoods
  • Children’s play and informal sports facilities
  • Space for food growing
  • Enhancing and maintaining public open space which includes the site of nature conservation importance (SNCI) on the south-western boundary

The consultation would look at what infrastructure is needed on any future development, including a GP surgery and transport improvements. Parking provided in connection with office space could be considered for an informal park and ride scheme.

A secondary school was included in the original local plan in 2012 and has been retained as an infrastructure option. The consultation will explore whether this would still be needed and whether the site should include the potential for a new school. Toads Hole Valley could provide at least 350 family homes and, with more major developments likely to come forward, the council wants to keep all options open for the right infrastructure to serve these communities.

Toad’s Hole Valley is a 37 hectare greenfield site on the northern fringe of Brighton & Hove’s built up area. On its northern boundary is the busy A27 bypass and in the south King George VI Avenue. The site is allocated in the city’s planning policy (City Plan Part 1) for development. The principle of building on the land was recently accepted by the independent Planning Inspector as a key site to help meet the city’s need for new housing.

It is also privately owned, which means plans can come forward at any time.  An application is currently under consideration for 74 homes at Court Farm, which is on the north eastern tip of Toads Hole Valley.

The site is not accessible to local residents, so a new development could create public open spaces as well as improving the SNCI land and wildlife habitats. There would be an opportunity to provide walkways through this area into the South Downs National Park.

Cllr Warren Morgan, chair of the economic development and culture committee, said: “Having a planning document influenced by local people will help guide what happens on this site. Toads Hole Valley could deliver a substantial amount of much-needed housing for the city, but we need to ensure the city has maximum gain from it. The planning guidance will be drawn up in consultation with all stakeholders and the public.

“We have a pressing need for family and low cost homes, but we have little space to expand, with the sea on one side and the South Downs National Park on the other, so we have to look at all suitable opportunities to secure new housing for the city’s growing population.”

The first part of the consultation will be held for seven weeks from late March to early May 2016 when people will be invited to comment on the paper and attend workshops.

A Draft Supplementary Planning Document will be brought back to the Committee to seek its approval to carry out a further, city-wide consultation later this year.

More information

The option to include a new secondary school on the planning guidance for Toads Hole Valley is entirely separate from:

  • the current proposal, subject to planning permission, for the King’s Free School to have a permanent home at the West Blatchington Primary School site;
  • the University of Brighton secondary free school, which is due to be located in central east Brighton

Read the reports for the Economic Development & Culture Committee (Toads Hole Valley supplementary planning document is agenda item no. 49).

Toads Hole Valley update

You can find out the latest at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/toadsholevalley