Frequently Asked Questions


If Royal Mail vacates its two Brighton and Hove delivery offices, it will sell them. Both sites are allocated in the council’s City Plan for mixed-use developments including a significant number of much-needed homes.


Moving to Patcham will secure and improve the Royal Mail service in Brighton & Hove for many years to come. Royal Mail now delivers many more parcels and far fewer letters. This means we have to review our delivery office estate to ensure we have the right facilities to deliver to our customers. Our current sites in both Brighton and Hove do not have the right space, access, and facilities to support this. They are also unable to facilitate a fully electric fleet, which Royal Mail is rolling out to reduce operational carbon emissions. Royal Mail’s current sites are also allocated in the council’s City Plan for the delivery of housing, potentially providing hundreds of much-needed homes for the benefit of the whole city. This can only be delivered if Royal Mail moves to another, more suitable delivery office.


Royal Mail has been searching for a new home for a delivery office for some time. The Patcham site is the only suitable site to preserve the Royal Mail service to Brighton & Hove and retain employment in the city. It is currently owned by Brighton & Hove Council and has been vacant for many years despite being marketed for various commercial uses, providing no benefit to the council.

The Patcham site benefits include:

• Major road connections to Gatwick Mail Centre (which serves both Brighton and Hove delivery offices) via the A23
• An out-of-town location, adjacent to the A27, away from the homes and the city centre, reducing Royal Mail vehicle journeys and distances in Brighton & Hove, and allowing large vehicles to be directed toward the highway network immediately
• Switch from diesel to a fully electric LGV fleet of 132 vehicles.
• An opportunity to regenerate a long-vacant (Over 25 years) site that is providing no benefit to the council or the city currently
• A positive planning policy environment – the site is allocated in the City Plan for employment uses, indicating that this proposal is consistent with the city’s needs and aims


Royal Mail moving its delivery office to Patcham would be beneficial to Brighton & Hove in a number of ways. The move would:

  • Remove operational CO2 emissions via use of electric LGV fleet
  • Provide a substantial capital receipt for the council via the sale of the site
  • Regenerate an underused site, removing asbestos and other contaminants
  • Retain employment in the city of around 380 directly employed staff
  • Allow a substantial number of new homes to be built at the current Royal Mail delivery offices in Brighton and Hove
  • Provide a net gain of 10 percent in biodiversity, delivered through local offsite provision.
  • Eliminate HGV movements on local road network and reduce HGV movements from 25 per day to 14 per day
  • Reduce total distance travelled by HGVs by 50 percent



Around 380 total jobs are supported by Royal Mail in Brighton & Hove and would continue to be directly employed at a new Patcham Delivery Office. Around 123 can be expected to be on site per operation day, resulting in about 246 staff trips per day.


85 car parking spaces,13 motorcycle spaces and 40 bicycle spaces. This exceeds planning policy requirements and is an increase since our public consultation period in January 2022. We conducted a survey of Royal Mail employees at both delivery offices prior to submission of the planning application in July 2022 which has informed the Travel Plan. We also engaged with Brighton & Hove Buses and are actively considering posties to retain their vehicles in the evening, whilst actively promoting alternative travel to work. We will continually review the Travel Plan throughout the planning and development process.

We looked at several possible access arrangements for this site. After our public consultation in January 2022, we amended initial plans to create a new access junction off the Vale Avenue/A27 access road to the southwest of the site. This is to the west of the existing access junction and will create a short new access road parallel to Vale Avenue, keeping all HGV traffic off Vale Avenue. A right only exit onto the Vale Avenue/A27 access road ensures large vehicles are directed on to the highways network immediately, respecting nearby residential areas. This approach has been devised in consultation with National Highways and the council’s Highways department and is subject to final approval of technical details as part of the council’s final planning decision.

There would be dedicated pedestrian and cycle access points and zebra crossings to ensure safe pedestrian and cycle crossings.


These options were considered during our design process but are not possible as are prohibited by National Highways due what would be a negative effect on the network and safety implications.

There will be some traffic generation from both delivery traffic and staff journeys. However, larger vehicles will not enter the local road network due to our access design.

The impact of these trips on the highway network have been analysed by undertaking a number of junction capacity assessments on key junctions within the study area. The transport assessment, available {here} concluded that the proposed development has a negligible impact on the operation of these junctions.

We expect 35% of staff to travel by car and park on-site. 24% will use bus and 16% cycle to work. This is based on surveys of existing staff. Royal Mail will encourage staff, through a Travel Plan, to use alternative modes of travel to minimise single occupancy car journeys.

Royal Mail has met with Brighton and Hove City Bus Company twice, most recently in September 2022, to discuss extension of bus services to serve potential employees at Patcham. Initial indications are positive and discussions will continue throughout the planning process with delivery office operation not planned until summer 2026.

The proposed Patcham Delivery Office would not use automated sorting machines.

A Patcham delivery office would not have a customer service point (CSP). Should the current delivery offices move to Patcham, Royal Mail will have a new CSP in the centre of Brighton.

There will be no delivery office staff on the site overnight. Deliveries will be unloaded by HGV distribution staff.

Larger vehicles are used by Royal Mail to bring items to the delivery office ready for sorting and local delivery. The Patcham location and the access off the A27 approach road moves HGVs off the local Brighton & Hove road network. Moving to Patcham will reduce HGV deliveries to the delivery office to 14 per day, from 25 per day to the two current sites.



Away from local residences, the northeast corner of the site will provide a turning circle area to allow for vehicle access to the two docking bays at the building and a vehicle maintenance area.



Royal Mail is committed to carbon reduction. Our vision for the Patcham delivery office is one of a fully carbon neutral site on the way to net zero. A consolidated location adjacent to the highways network will mean total distance travelled by HGVs reduced by 50%. Importantly, moving to Patcham will allow Royal Mail to convert the delivery fleet to wholly electric-powered, eliminating fleet carbon emissions. Electric charging points will also be provided for staff, allowing for additional reduction in carbon emissions.

Scheme design includes a highly sustainable building, incorporating passive heating and cooling strategies and exceeding building regulation sustainability requirements by 47%.


A visual representation of this is viewable on the Proposals page. The building will be almost entirely screened from view, with the massing making use of the change in levels to limit any visual impact. Natural materials will ensure a building that blends in with the surrounding area and represents an improvement on the current vacant buildings, which are in poor condition.


Several aspects of the proposed design will ensure that the effect of the development on the immediately local area is minimised. The tree and hedgerow planting to the front and within the site will allow adequate screening of the development from outside of the south. The building is significantly set back from Vale Avenue, rises only slightly higher than the existing buildings and employs the use of natural materials inherent to Patcham Conservation Area.

The site is located above a Source Protection Zone 1 (SPZ1) aquifer, on which much of the local area sits. The site drainage strategy has been developed to prevent infiltration as a means of primary surface water discharge. All proposed Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are to be lined with an impermeable membrane and all the permeable paving is also proposed to be lined with an impermeable membrane to prevent infiltration into the SPZ1 aquifer.

The proposed development has a drainage system that is isolated from the underlying ground and uses no infiltration to dispose of rainfall falling on the site. The provision of larger areas of impermeable hardstanding, in this case, will reduce the risk of mobilisation of pre-existing contaminants in the ground into the aquifer. Surface water is proposed to discharge to the Southern Water combined sewer to the south of the site. Runoff from the site will be held in attenuation on site and the discharge restricted as close to greenfield rates as possible to reduce the flood risk downstream. Runoff from the site will be treated prior to discharge to the Southern Water network through a combination of SuDS features and interceptors.

Recognising the importance of protecting the aquifer, Royal Mail commissioned an additional studies Hydrology Risk Assessment (HRA), undertaken by WSP. Within this, risks to the quality of supply of the Brighton A and Brighton B assets have been considered for the Construction and Operational phase. Where there is some risk, mitigation has been proposed and the approach approved by Southern Water subject to technical details. These are viewable here.

The application site is not within the Patcham Conservation Area but is adjacent to it. A Heritage Statement has therefore been submitted as part of the planning application. This comprehensive assessment concludes that the proposed development will not have an adverse impact on Patcham Conservation Area. The building is significantly set back from Vale Avenue, rises only slightly higher that the existing buildings and employs the use of natural materials inherent to Patcham Conservation Area or the setting of any listed buildings. View the Heritage Statement {here [https://www.royalmailpatcham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/HERITAGE_STATEMENT.pdf]}.


A Flood Risk Assessment has been undertaken and submitted as part of the planning application. In an extreme rainfall event, the current site will discharge significantly more surface water than the proposed development which utilises a combination of sustainable drainage features and geocellular attenuation to hold the rainfall on the site. Brighton & Hove City Council planning officers and the Environment Agency have been consulted on our designs.

This scheme incorporates the maximum amount of landscaping, biodiversity and new habitats possible while enabling Royal Mail operations. As a result of a sensitive design, we expect a net biodiversity gain of 10 percent.

Surveys were also undertaken to assess the incidence of a range of protected species on the site, including reptiles, bats and barn owls.

The following species-specific findings have been reported following the surveys:

• The barn owl survey identified one building with low potential to support a barn owl nest site, and no evidence of barn owl nesting or roosting.
• Bat surveys have not found any roosting bats on the site.
• Reptile surveys identified the presence of slow worm and common lizard across the site, these will be translocated to another location.
• Dormice surveys have identified the presence of dormice on-site, RMG are arranging local off-site habitat improvements for the dormice.


Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a national legislative strategy to develop land and contribute to the recovery of nature. It is a way of making sure the habitat for wildlife is in a better state than it was before development. Currently, Royal Mail Group consultants have identified two local available options offsite for developing the BNG approach, whereby any areas of habitat which are altered from new development at this site is replaced by a similar habitat on a different location to that of the development site.

It is likely that habitats such as mixed scrub and chalk grassland will be enhanced/created offsite. These offsite provisions are actively being reviewed by all relevant stakeholders in order to formulate a detailed BNG report to be submitted in the near future. These two options locally should provide new local habitats which will benefit Brighton’s local environment and wildlife.


A noise assessment in line with British Standard 4142 was carried out. The assessment identifies a low noise impact from lorries accessing the site during the most sensitive hours of operation. The noise assessment has identified that maximum noise levels at night would not significantly increase due to the few lorry movements anticipated during the night-time period. The overall changes in road traffic would lead to an increase in noise level of no more than 0.2 dB on the surrounding road network. Two noise barriers – to the northwest and southeast at the boundary with 130-134 Vale Avenue – have been designed to mitigate any effect.


The external lighting design for the facility has been designed to minimise the effect of light pollution from the new delivery office. All lights comply with the requirements of the Institute of Lighting Professionals guidance notes for the provision of zero upward light to avoid light pollution. The current lighting calculations indicate an illumination level of 1 Lux maximum (about the light of a full moon) being at the site perimeter, minimising the spill of light to adjacent areas. A lighting control system will also be provided to control the lighting and mitigate light pollution throughout the day and at night via on/off/dimming settings.



After initial design work, we undertook public consultation in January 2022. 84 people joined our two online webinar sessions. We also sent an information letter to over 2,500 local Patcham addresses, and contacted 25 local stakeholder groups, agreed with council planning officers and Patcham ward councillors.


Royal Mail recently submitted updated technical reports to add to the planning application which is currently under consideration by Brighton & Hove City Council. We would expect decisions to be made toward the end of the year, in autumn 2023.


Along with planning permissions and operational preparation including vacating the current Royal Mail sites, the Patcham site could be operational by Summer 2026. Construction would last from April 2025 to Summer 2026.

These are viewable online on the Brighton & Hove City Council planning portal by searching the application number BH2022/02232.

Alternatively, we have hosted some key updated documents on this website, available on the links below: