THE proposal to sell land to the Royal Mail has been put on hold, the council have announced.
Senior councilors at Brighton and Hove City Council were to decide whether a long lease should be given to the Royal Mail for Patcham Court Farm.
The existing sorting offices at North Road, Brighton and Denmark Villas, Hove would be demolished and replaced by nearly 200 houses – 110 in Brighton and the remainder in Hove.
The announcement was met with backlash from Patcham residents, who described the plans as ‘breathtaking’ and said a new sorting office on Patcham Court Farm would have a negative impact on traffic and parking in the area.
On Friday, the council announced that a decision had been made to withdraw reports on the sale of Patcham Court Farm which were to be reviewed by advisers to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.
‘This is so that officers can continue to explore all viable accommodation options at the sites released by Royal Mail and that advisers from all political groups can continue to listen and respond to the views of residents,’ the statement read. .
“It is imperative that councilors feel they have all the information and options available to them so that they can make an informed and fully considered decision about the future of Patcham Court Farm and securing Royal Mail jobs in the town.
“It will take longer to deliver.”
Earlier this week Labor said they were “appalled” by the council’s approach to the deal and called for a pause in proceedings.
“Labour councilors are disappointed with the half-hearted approach of the Greens, which seek to prioritize short-term gains from the sale of family silverware rather than responding to residents’ demands and tackling the crisis head-on housing,” says a statement from Labour.
“Selling council assets and land, without negotiating to extract sites in return for building affordable homes, is short-sighted and frankly a breach of duty by any serious party to addressing housing need in Brighton and Hove. ”
There have been a total of eight approaches for the Patcham site since the early 1990s, including a Royal Mail proposal in 2018.
The council says it has since worked with Royal Mail “to help them develop a program that consolidates their existing sorting office services” on the Patcham site.
Patcham advisers Alistair McNair and Anne Meadows received confidential notice of the plans on November 9 last year and launched a petition on January 24 this year.
Cllr McNair previously raised concerns about the plan.
‘The Royal Mail had four years to plan and residents have very little time to give feedback,’ he said.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Our plans would create 85 staff parking spaces on site, along with 13 motorbike spaces and 40 bicycle spaces.
“We do not anticipate any pollution issues that have not been considered in our plans. Our proposed mitigation measures include acoustic fencing to limit the potential for noise pollution from the planned development.
“The proposed delivery office would be carbon neutral, on the way to net zero. A fleet of all-electric vehicles would be introduced.
“This proposed delivery office will enable us to continue to offer our customers the high standards they have come to expect from Royal Mail.”
Local residents were also expected to stage a protest against the plans on Sunday.