Plans for the University Technical College proposed for Newhaven were approved by Lewes District Council this week.
This means work will start on converting the listed marine and carpenter’s workshops in Railway Quay into a specialist engineering college within the next 12 months.
However some councillors expressed concerns about the design of the building, which they said could have been better.
They raised concerns about the loss of the pitched roof and English Heritage said the proposal would be very harmful to the listed heritage assets of the buildings.
Rod Main (L.Dem, Newhaven, Denton and Meeching) said while he supported building a college, he felt the roof line should have been retained.
He said: “What you’re left with is a brick box.”
But councillor Peter Gardiner (L.Dem, Ouse Valley and Ringmer) was in favour of the design, adding the extra space made the college more viable by providing space for 600 students. The decision was made by the planning committee at County Hall in Lewes on Wednesday July 16. The college will open by September 2015.