At a special meeting of the Planning Committee on 21 March, councillors voted to indicate that they would have refused planning permission for the proposed Toads Hole Valley development.
The developers have appealed to the Planning Inspectorate as we had been unable to give a decision on the application. This was due to both National Highways and the council, as the Highway Authority, not having sufficient information to assess the impact on the A27 and other local roads. This has made it impossible for us to decide to grant or refuse the application.
A public inquiry will now be held in early June to determine the application. The decision taken by the Planning Committee will form the basis of our submission to that inquiry.
Committee members were asked to decide on the application as if it had been put before them in a normal situation. After hearing from council officers, representatives of the developer and local community groups, councillors voted to refuse the application as the final transport modelling audit and the road safety assessment were still not available.
The committee also voted to inform the inspector of two issues that they would like to see in the proposals. These were that at least two of the 5-bedroom houses in the development should form part of the affordable housing allocation, and that bridges or tunnels are considered for some of the links to neighbouring areas, rather than all being light-controlled road crossings.
Councillor Leo Littman, chair of the Planning Committee, said: “There are a lot of positives to this proposal. We are in dire need of the housing it could provide, and I think this could be a nice place to live.
“But to have voted for the proposal in the absence of National Highway’s assessment of the transport evidence and the road safety audit would have been a hostage to fortune. At this stage we have no idea what impact the development would have on neighbouring communities.”
The public Inquiry
This will take place on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June, and Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 June inclusive. All days will be at the Jubilee Library, except the last day which will take place at Brighton Town Hall
Duplicate Planning Application
Toads Hole Valley Limited has also submitted a duplicate planning application. This is identical to the latest version of the original application submitted at the end of 2018. Comments made about original application, however, cannot legally be carried forward to the duplicate application. This means that anyone wishing to comment must do so again, even if they made a response previously.
This duplicate application means that city councillors would still be given the opportunity to decide on whether to approve or refuse at a local level, taking into account the fully assessed traffic and safety impact on the local road network.