Brighton and Hove Albion FC has been given planning permission to build a 22,000 seater stadium in Falmer after a 10 year battle for a permanent home for the League One side.

The planning application, which has been through two public enquiries, was approved by secretary of state for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears today.

The site, which will include a stadium, car park, a bus and coach interchange and the widening of nearby roads, is north of Village Way in Falmer.

It has been opposed by residents, local councils and conservation groups because the land lies within the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, during a recent enquiry, it was recommended that the boundaries of the South Downs National Park be amended to ensure the stadium lies outside the area.

The club hopes to begin building the stadium within 18 months. A developer is yet to be appointed.