The UK Government has indicated that there is a significant need for housing development throughout the country but an urgent need for development in the South East.
Brighton & Hove City Council (B&HCC) prepared a City Plan (local development plan) Part One which was submitted to the Secretary of State in June 2013. This included a target of 11,300 new homes (40% affordable) up to 2030.
For various reasons this plan was not accepted by the Secretary of State who appointed an Inspector to review the Plan. A major reason was that a target in excess of 20,000 new homes was regarded as being appropriate for B&HCC.
As a consequence, many developers are submitting planning applications for development on sites which are not regarded as suitable by either local residents or the local planning authority, in the hopes that governmental pressure will enable them to obtain permission which would not be given in more normal circumstances.
In the case of Rottingdean, this has led to applications on Meadow Vale, Ovingdean and Falmer Avenue, Saltdean and a proposal on St Aubyns School, Rottingdean all of which are far too large for either the site or the local infrastructure.
These developers are ignoring the fact that Rottingdean has been evolving at a steady pace over the years with an appropriate level of new homes being built each year.
The level of development (with an overview by Rottingdean Parish Council) has met both local and city historic and current new housing needs, exceeding the percentages of new developments (in relation to population and with regards to physical and geographical constraints) of many other wards within the City boundaries.
In the case of St Aubyns School, the school campus is regarded as a brownfield site and the sensitive and appropriate development of the school campus is much desired by the local community.
It is hoped that between 20 and 40 new residential units will result from the development of the site
However, the playing field of St Aubyns School, is regarded as a green field site (the campus and playing field are separated by an unclassified public highway and the campus is part of the conservation area but the playing field is not.) and has been described in a recent planning brief prepared by B&HCC and the Parish Council, as an asset of heritage value adding significantly to the character of the village
Building additional residential units on the playing field would not only reduce local green space (which has significant potential value as a recreational amenity to the village) but also overstretch the local infrastructure and lead to a catastrophic increase in congestion and the related air pollution as well as destroying the character and heritage of the village.