Student accommodation resulting from a university campus on the Novartis site would count towards the district’s housing targets.
Last month the pharmaceutical firm announced it was in talks with the University of Brighton over the sale of the Wimblehurst Road site.
Up to 2,500 students could be housed on site. Cabinet member for living and working communities Claire Vickers said: “Student accommodation does count towards housing numbers but not in its entirety because student blocks tend to share kitchens and amenity space.
“We will need to calculate how this can contribute towards our housing numbers in the Horsham District Planning Framework once we have further details from Brighton University.” She said a block of ten bedrooms sharing a kitchen and amenities would equate to one unit.