Make the most of new sites

The government inspector rejected Brighton & Hove City Council’s first draft of a city plan on the grounds that it did not provide enough new housing – despite the controversial inclusion of Toads Hole Valley (top right and a vision for its develpment, centre) as a development site.
The council has now responded with modifications focused on the city’s housing target and the urban fringe as a source of potential for housing, as well as Brighton Marina and sustainable building policy.
The Regency Society has supported the allocation of small parts of the urban fringe for housing development and pointed out that some sites could handle a higher density of homes, including land adjacent to Ovingdean Road and Falmer Road and land west of Falmer Avenue in Saltdean.
“In both these cases, applications have already been received proposing significantly more homes, which we support,” we wrote.
We did, however, question the wording of a paragraph suggesting that residential development on land not currently allocated for housing would be allowed if “a countryside location can be justified” – we have asked for a tighter definition to prevent this becoming the basis for large numbers of applications to develop inappropriate sites.
Our other focus was a call for the demolition of Amex House (bottom right), one of the buildings highlighted in our AGM event on buildings at risk in the city. “We believe that Amex House should be retained and re-furbished for employment use,” we said. 
“Firstly, it is good example of late 20th century design, arguably the best large example in Brighton.  Secondly, it is less than 40 years old:  huge resources of energy and materials were used to create it so demolition does not appear to represent a sustainable use of resources...we believe that the City Plan should recognise and even encourage the possibility of refurbishment.”

• See Filling the housing gap for a citywide look at where more housing can be built.

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