Controversial proposals to build a Tesco store at the former council offices in Grove Road have been backed.
Local traders said it would ruin Little Chelsea’s ethos of supporting independent traders but the planning committee of Eastbourne Brough Council this week approved plans by four votes to three to change the use of part of the ground floor of the 1970s built building from offices to retail and install a new shopfront.
Six objections were received afer plans were submitted with concerns including parking difficulties being exacerbated while a supporter of the proposals said they welcomed the opportunity to bring an empty unit back into use and it would create more footfall at that end of the one-way road.
The latter comments were also echoed by some of the councillors on the committee with Councilllor Jim Murray saying, “I think the shop will enhance the area rather than take away from it. I think it will create more footfall, it’s good to have a little bit of competition as well.”
Councillor Pat Hearn said she could see two sides to the matter, adding, “One is from the small traders who feel this will take trade from them. The other is it will actually increase footfall for the small traders.”
Councillor John Ungar added, “Where better to put retail outlets than among other retail outlets? I’m going to vote in favour of the application, I think it will liven up that end of Grove Road.”
Councillor Harun Miah raised concerns over traffic problems and said small traders would be affected by the store while Councillor Barry Taylor added, “I’m puzzled as to know how they will handle the deliveries there.”
Councillors voted to conditionally approve the plans. A separate application to convert some of the office space at the same building into 15 flats was also approved subject to conditions.