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Revised Falmer plans 'approved'

5 February 09 08:13 GMT

Revised plans for Brighton and Hove Albion's new stadium at Falmer have been approved, the football club said.

Work has started on the construction of the 22,500-seater stadium, which is due to open in August 2011.

Seagulls' Chairman Dick Knight said the decision by Brighton and Hove City Council meant it would be a "real community stadium".

New health and safety and disability access rules meant the original plans had to be changed.

'Great moment'

In a statement on the club's website, Mr Knight said: "Planning committee members have certainly got the message about how important the stadium is to the community.

"They understand it's not just about entertaining football fans on a Saturday afternoon, but about helping to improve people's lives with some inspirational community facilities - in other words a real community stadium."

He added: "I applaud and thank the planning committee for their overwhelming mandate to go ahead. This is a great moment for the Albion and the city."

Protesters had argued the new design did not fit in with the local area but the club said the changes were "minor".

Public inquiries

The initial planning application for stadium on land north of Village Way, in Falmer, was submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council in 2001.

It was accepted by the government in July 2007 after a High Court challenge and two public inquiries.

Brighton and Hove Albion have been without a stadium since their former home - the Goldstone Ground - closed in 1997 and was then sold off.

Fans of the Seagulls, including DJ Norman Cook - aka Fatboy Slim - attended an official "kick-off" ceremony at the site in Falmer when construction work began in December.

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