The campaign to save The Buckle Car Park in Seaford from development has seen a significant victory.
The controversial site has now been listed as an Asset of Community Value.
This means it cannot be offered for sale without further public knowledge and a six-month grace period to se if the community can find a way to register an expression of interest.
Plans are in the pipeline to build 76 new seafront apartments at the Buckle site.
Opposition is being spearheaded by Independents for Seaford (IFS). Chair Sarah McStravick said, “I am pleased and proud of the activism of our members and the work we have been undertaking collectively to help save The Buckle Car Park since the start of the campaign.
“At the ‘consultations’ last week around the district, Independents for Seaford have been present and highlighting the ongoing concerns that this ‘Community Asset’, much loved by Seafordians, is threatened with building of more luxury homes.
“I am proud that we took the initiative to petition Lewes District Council and pleased with the response from so many townsfolk and others in the area who signed it. This has led to debate at Full District Council, where we marched with others in the community to show that we do not want this area sold off.
“There is a further debate on December 9 at the next full council meeting. We have seen too many sites in Seaford sold for luxury flats over the last few years, whilst our own population struggles to afford housing in the town. The council’s proposals will not help hard-pressed families in Seaford.
“Some have described the ‘deal’ with developers as a ‘done deal’; yet in our opinion it is far from ‘done’ and we continue to fight. Our members have contacted all Lewes District councillors urging them to investigate the manner in which the New Homes development has been conducted. We have had some response and look forward to more councillors responding.
“A three-stage complaint was raised with the council which resulted in the Local Government Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner being contacted and we are awaiting the outcome. We have also written to the Auditor asking them to investigate.
“We will continue to fight to Save the Buckle, and stop this process, and urge all local residents to continue to support us.”
Hundreds of people attended drop-in sessions in Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven earlier this month to have their say and learn more about proposals for new homes to combat the district’s housing shortage. Cllr Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said, “It was great to see so many people at the sessions. In particular, thank you to those who took the time to fill out feedback forms as these comments are helpful in taking this district project further.
“We have nearly 2,000 families on our housing waiting list and it is essential that we build homes for people in urgent need of them.”
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