At last! Brighton & Hove Albion FC’s community stadium at Falmer has been granted planning permission by Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, after an original decision to grant permission by John Prescott was quashed after a minor administrative error.
The stadium has been the cause of much controversy as it falls in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is in close proximity to the village of Falmer. However, Mrs Blears agreed that the need for the stadium by the local community was an issue of national importance, and that this, along with the carefully considered proposal for the stadium, would mitigate any impact that building the stadium would have.
Opponents of the stadium, such as Falmer Parish Council, and Lewes District Council, may still appeal, and it will be September before the Albion will know if they face another legal challenge.
As a resident of Lewes District, I hope that the council admit defeat, and stop wasting our money by resisting another appeal. The stadium has now been approved by two Secretaries of State, and any further challenge is going to be costly to both the club and the councils involved. And, of course, I can’t wait to start watching live football in Brighton again!