Eastbourne bowls club could be forced to close

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An Eastbourne bowls club could be forced to close as developers begin moves to build a new doctor’s surgery on the site.

Members of Victoria Drive and Ladies Bowls Club in Old Town have been told they will be able to use the bowling green until next September but will have to close if plans to build on the site go ahead.

The plans are being put forward by the same company which developed the Sainsbury’s store, which neighbours the bowls club.

The bowls club, which has been open since 1931, declined to comment on the potential development.

A public consultation on the plans is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

While still at an early stage, if the plans are approved the finished surgery is expected to replace the nearby Green Street Clinic.

The clinic, which has been looking for new premises for several years, had at one point considered moving into premises near the Sainsbury’s development.

Development on the site in the past has proven controversial in the area leading to a lengthy campaign by residents to keep the former pub site as a community asset.

As a result of the campaign the former Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles was lobbied to change the law so that pubs could not automatically be given retail permission.

The Sainsbury’s store opened in June 2015 despite the concerns of both residents and Eastbourne Borough Council.

Last year the developers applied for planning permission to build three flats at the back of the pub.

The application was turned down by the council due to concerns over noise and limited parking in nearby streets.

But in December the Government Planning Inspector overturned the decision following an appeal by the developers.

Building work on the three flats – which are comprised of two two-bedroom flats and a single one-bedroom flat – is expected to begin later this year.

A separate application by the developer to build a four-bedroom house on the site was approved last year.

At the time residents raised concerns over further parking restrictions, road safety and congestion due to the Sainsbury’s store.

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