Protesters have won their battle today at Hove Town Hall to block proposed introduction of housing to Ovingdean’s last green space.
Around 30 ecology enthusiasts were present before the Planning Committee for Brighton and Hove where the City Council voted six to five to reject 45 previously refused homes.
Outside the Town Hall, protester Camilla Tildon-Smith said: “I couldn’t see this beautiful meadow just being concreted over. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever.
A key factor in the decision was the fate of the rare red star thistle which grows on the site proposed for development.
Tracey Parker, a leading protester, outside said: “Think of the ecosystem as a jumbo jet. Somebody takes a screw out here, takes a rivet out here, and eventually the whole thing will collapse.”
Other rare species and 400 invertebrates would be in danger if the plans went ahead, she said.
Councillors also heard from ecology expert Jackie Thompson, from Deans Preservation Society, who said results from a survey of the land carried out by the applicants were incorrect.
She said the land had not been designated as a wildlife site only because inspectors were unable to gain access.
Councillor Lynda Hyde read a list of objectors, including more than 600 residents and Ovingdean’s MP Simon Kirby.
Voting against, she asked: “Can all these people be incorrect?”
Committee Councillor Julie Catell, voting in favour pf plans, said: “We have a housing crisis.”
The applicants argued that the plans were a valuable contribution to the City’s affordable housing target.
Ovingdean Parish Council was among those against the plans, along with Bug Life and Sussex Wildlife Trust.