Agenda item - BH2022/03486 - Varndean College, Surrenden Road, Brighton - Outline Application

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Agenda item

BH2022/03486 - Varndean College, Surrenden Road, Brighton - Outline Application


1.       The Planning Manager introduced the application to the committee.




2.       Neighbouring Ward Councillor Fowler stated that they were generally in support of the scheme and there were benefits, however there were concerns relating to the use of the area and the impact on the views, as these would be lost due to the development.


3.       Sue Dibb addressed the committee as the secretary of the Green Varndean Group, who objected to the development and stated that the group had been instrumental in saving the views across the area and that are now protected in the City Plan. The importance of replacing the temporary huts on site was recognised. The proposed development was considered to be of a poor design resulting in the loss of a valuable view. The STEM building is higher than the teaching buildings on site and should not be used as a height guide, and the development should be conditioned to not exceed the existing teaching block. The development is considered out of keeping and many objections have been raised. The committee are requested to protect the views and not accept the development.


4.       Donna-Marie Janson addressed the committee as the applicant and Head of College, stating that the college was thriving and one of the top ten in the UK. The development is considered to look after the environment and the local residents. The design is not considered to obstruct the view. The masterplan is to replace the temporary teaching rooms which are less secure than other rooms, uncomfortable, hot in summer and cold in winter. The buildings are inaccessible for disabled users which often leads to changes in rooms. The scheme is much needed for the college.


Answers to Committee Member Questions


5.       Councillor Earthey was informed that the height of buildings is confirmed in this application and reflects the operational requirements of the college.


6.       Councillor Shanks was informed that the strategic view was from Surrenden Road north of the site. The case officer stated that the site is high up and the views referred to are looking south across the site.


7.       Councillor Hamilton was informed by the case officer that the height of the development was informed by the operational requirements of the college and while higher, would minimise the reduction in open space on the site.


8.       Councillor Loughran was informed that the layout balanced the need to maintain open space, with width verses height. The college would also need to meet the requirements of the Department of Education in coming up with the layout of buildings.




9.       Councillor Allen welcomed the application and considered the principle of the development to be good. The site is inadequate at it stands and the temporary teaching cabins are not good and long overdue for replacement. The Councillor supported the application.


10.      Councillor Shanks welcomed the application as the temporary teaching cabins were no good. The pedestrian crossing was good. The Councillor supported the application.


11.      Councillor Earthey stated they were not happy with phases one and two and would prefer single storey buildings.


12.      Councillor Loughran stated that they supported education but considered it a shame there was no detailed roof design in the application which could have been a hybrid, rather than outline application. The Councillor supported the application.


13.      Councillor Nann supported the application.


14.      A vote was taken, and the committee agreed unanimously to grant planning permission.


15.      RESOLVED: That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to be MINDED TO GRANT outline planning permission subject to a s106 agreement on the Heads of Terms set out in the report and the following Conditions and Informatives as set out in the report, SAVE THAT should the s106 Planning Obligation not be completed on or before the 5thAugust 2023 the Head of Planning is hereby authorised to refuse planning permission for the reasons set out in section 14.1 of the report.

Supporting documents:


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