The second oldest pub in Seaford could be turned into homes if Lewes District Council decides to support planning officers’ recommendations.
The scheme to convert V-Bar in Pelham Yard into three terraced houses will go before the planning committee on Wednesday October 30 at County Hall in Lewes.
Lewes District Council’s planning committee deferred the proposal to see if the owner London and City Estates would consider converting the ground floor into retail use, while turning the first floor into flats, following strong objections from residents.
In the report to the planning committee, officers said the applicant had considered the committee’s views on the scheme very carefully.
A letter said the applicant considered all commercial possibilities for the building, including retaining the existing use and that an “open minded and detailed financial assessment of the committee’s request was undertaken.”
However the letter from the applicant’s agent went on to say that the assessment: “confirmed that retaining the existing use on the ground floor, with residential development above is not financially viable.
“It is therefore our decision to maintain the scheme in the current form. f the planning committee subsequently choose to refuse planning permission, advised by your officers that there is no policy reason to do so, we will have to consider our options for any subsequent action.”
A petition with 64 signatures called for a retail use to be retained at the pub. A further 13 letters were received by the council objecting to the scheme.
Seaford Town Council was also strongly opposed to the proposal on the grounds that turning commercial property into residential in town centres was against the council’s policy.
However planning officers said while the pub was in the town centre, it was not in a zone called the primary shopping area and as a result there was no requirement to retain it as a pub.
The report also said there were already food and drink establishments in the town centre.
It said the applicant had submitted evidence that the pub had been marketed for a year unsuccessfully.
However the report did say an objector had indicated bids were made for the pub but that these were not accepted.
The report concluded the council could not object to the scheme on the grounds of losing a food and drink establishment because it would go against its own planning policy.