Government scores own goal over Brighton football stadium permission

The Government has scored an own goal after giving the go-ahead on proposals to build a new stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion football club, which campaigners say will ruin the surrounding countryside.

The 23,000 seater stadium is proposed to be built near Falmer, on the outskirts of Brighton. Fans of the development say it will bring much needed employment to Moulsecomb, one of the most deprived wards in the county.

Opponents of the scheme say the new stadium will have a major impact on the landscape of the Sussex Downs, as it will be built on the current Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty while the associated transport interchange will sit within the boundary of the proposed South Downs National Park.

The Government announced its intention to designate the South Downs as a National Park, with associated protected planning rules, in 1999, with John Prescott describing it as a “present to the nation.”

However, the protected status has not yet been given, awaiting the results of a public inquiry which are expected at the end of this year.

Henry Oliver, Head of Planning for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, called the football stadium go-ahead: “An outrageous decision that makes a mockery of the highest levels of landscape protection.”

“This decision is a shameful abdication of responsibility in the face of emotional and political pressure, with no demonstrable national need to justify it. What is the point of the Government drawing boundaries around protected countryside if it’s simply going to ignore them?”

The CPRE believes the new stadium would conflict with the government’s own planning policies, intrude upon the renowned views and shatter the tranquillity of the land above Brighton as well as adding significantly to light pollution.

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