The application seeking permission to replace the proposed secondary school planned as part of the Toads Hole Valley development with a further 182 homes was approved at Planning Committee on Wednesday 8 March.
The overall scheme is a 42-hectare site just south of the A27, near King George VI Avenue in Hove. It is privately owned and is the largest greenfield development site in the city.
In June 2022 the council granted planning permission for a new neighbourhood at Toads Hole Valley. In August 2022 a further application was made by the developers to replace part of the proposed secondary school in the original application land with additional housing.
The applicants put forward the case that a new school is no longer required by the city given falling pupil numbers and that further homes should be given priority, considering the city’s housing shortage.
The application can be viewed on our Planning Register, by searching for reference number BH2022/02534. It plans to replace the school with a further 182 homes, 40% of which would be affordable.
Although details will not be finalised until a later stage of the application process, the Planning Committee were briefed that the initial proposal for the other 60% of the houses is for 16% 1-bed, 21% 2-bed, 55% 3-bed and 8% 4-bed homes. There would also be 9 additional custom / self-build plots.
The remainder of the former school land will provide a 3G sports pitch and multi-use game area under the original permission. Construction would take place in at the same time as the rest of the Toads Hole Valley development, which is proposed in phases.
Biodiversity Net Gain
It has been assessed that the new application will result in a net loss of habitats in Toads Hole Valley.
To ensure that the development actually provides the minimum 10% net gain in biodiversity within our region, the applicant proposed to pay for habitats of the same type to be created within the South Downs Local Character Area, as defined by Natural England. The committee was told that a site in Lewes District was under consideration for this.
Councillors agreed to an informative notice guiding the developer to seek sites within Brighton & Hove for the biodiversity net gain off-setting.
Planning Committee decision
The committee voted to approve the application (subject to completion of a S106 legal agreement).
Councillor Leo Littman, chair of the Planning Committee, said: “The Toads Hole Valley development will provide the city with over 1,000 desperately needed new homes overall, of which 40% will meet the Government’s definition of ‘affordability’.
“A number of environmental improvements have been secured, from renovation of the Local Wildlife Site to energy efficient homes and better active travel infrastructure.
“Committee members strongly encouraged the applicant to work with the council to identify a site within the city boundary for the biodiversity net gain investment.”