Heritage campaigners have claimed Brighton Council is 'legally trapped' over Frank Gehry's King Alfred scheme on Hove's sea front.
Following the recent backing from both English Heritage and CABE, local campaign groups have suggested the council is legally tied to the project.
Valerie Paynter, of the save HOVE campaign group, said: 'The council is legally trapped by an agreement it signed with the developers Karis and ING.
'It gives Karis 250 years worth of the site, if they get planning, in return for a new sports centre. The big carrot for the council was Frank Gehry.
'But the problem was Karis kept going back to the council asking for more housing to fund the sports centre. When Gehry was first taken on board there were only 300 housing units, now there are 754 units.'
Despite the claims, the support from English Heritage and CABE, as well as approval from the council to use the site, has put Karis in a very strong position ahead of a decision from planners in the New Year. by Richard Vaughan