From The Argus –
Councillors have agreed to launch a public consultation on the future development of Brighton and Hove in a bid to stop the city becoming a developers’ “Wild West”.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee voted through the City Plan to the next stage at a meeting tonight.
A six week public consultation on the document which will lay down the ground rules for development in the city until 2030 will begin on November 4.
Councillors warned that if the City Plan was not agreed decisions on development in the city would be taken out of the hands of local decision makers and create a “planning by appeal” process that developers would win.
But dissenting voices said the plan had put urban fringe places at risk by indicating sites that could be developed.
The proposals for more than 13,000 homes had first come to the committee in July but were put on hold following pressure from environmental groups.
The council’s head of planning Martin Randall told the committee that the three month delay had allowed time for “reflection and adjustment within the tight regulations” set by the Government’s planning inspectorate.
Without agreeing it, Mr Randall said the council would be in a weak position to resist inappropriate development and be at risk at losing more decisions by appeal.
The committee was told that the City Plan would protect 90% of the city’s urban fringe.
The City Plan if agreed would ensure that urban fringe sites would only be allocated for housing with further consultation and should be used to meet local housing needs through community land trusts and low-cost self-build housing.
Green Councillor Geoffrey Bowden said: “If we don’t have a City Plan in place, there will be opening to a Wild West, a developers’ paradise.
“We might as well pack up the planning department and go straight to Whitehall so there are huge dangers if we don’t agree to this.”
Labour Councillor Warren Morgan said the council had to protect the city’s allotments, parks, open spaces and urban fringe.
He said he hoped residents would use the process to tell the Government planning inspectorate what they think.
Conservative Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said the report was almost identical to the report which had come to the committee three months earlier with just cosmetic changes.
He said: “By identifying these sites and putting them in the public domain, we have given the green light to developers for our most cherished sites next to the Downs.
“We should have consulted first and come along with a sites allocated rather than this haphazard of dealing with it.
Green Councillor Ollie Sykes said that the fact the environmental groups were now supporting the City Plan which they protested against in July did show significant progress had been made.