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A PLAN to build houses on a school playing field in an area designated for ecologically friendly development has sparked a flurry of opposition.
Letters last month informed residents of an outline application for ten homes on the northern edge of the Varndean College campus in Brighton.
An opposition group has already been formed, encouraging those against the scheme to register objections within the 21-day deadline set in a November 28 letter from the city’s head of planning Liz Hobden.
On its website the group, Green Varndean, wrote: “Please help us stop Vardean College building houses on a local nature reserve. We don’t have much time and need to act quickly.”
The site is not within a formal nature reserve but sits within an area which was designated a “Biodiversity Reserve” by Brighton and Hove City Council in 2010.
An ecological survey has recommended: “If proposed development work results in the loss of habitat identified as offering biodiversity potential, it is recommended that a new biodiversity reserve be created within the college campus.
“The size of the new reserve should be the same or greater than the area proposed for development.”
Fourteen objections have already been registered online.
Nearby resident Joanna Postgate said: “I believe the building of houses on the strip of land would remove a much-needed and loved green space, and would bring detriment to the health and well being of the local community, destroying part of the ‘lungs’ of our precious city.
“It would change the face of the whole already crowded area and be a terrible mistake.
“I would strongly urge the plans be rejected.”
Several residents said they would lose an important amenity if the plan went ahead.
Jonathan Wilkins and his wife Cathy wrote: “We enjoy daily walks around our neighbourhood for which the view across to the sea from Surrenden Road is very important, it gives a great sense of space and the planned housing will greatly limit the view out to sea.
“The proposed residents won’t want us standing there taking in the view for minutes on end.”
The application is for ten residential units, including one two-bedroom property, six three-bed and three four-bed, with new access from Surrenden Road and associated car and cycle parking.
Source: The Argus