Former Hailsham military hall could be converted into flats

A military drill hall in Hailsham could be converted into flats if plans are given the green light.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Friday, 1st October 2021, 5:13 pm

If plans submitted to Wealden District Council from Sturton Place Ltd are approved, land at Sturton Place in Station Road would be used to create 34 flats with associated car parking and bin/cycle storage.

The site, which can be accessed off the A295, is surrounded by trees, the Cuckoo Trail, Royal Mail Delivery Office buildings and a modern brick-built garage building.

The site was most recently used as a multi-purpose health centre but the majority of the buildings have now been vacant for more than 10 years and have been boarded up ever since, planning documents say.

How the development will look. Photo from Sturton Place Ltd. SUS-210110-162423001

Drill halls like this one were used for soldiers to perform military drills and most closed following a reduction in the size of the Territorial Army after World War Two. According to the plans, it is not clear when this one stopped being used by the military.

According to the plans, the hall has been altered over the years to accommodate different uses, with the interior most recently being subdivided to create offices and treatment rooms for the NHS health centre function.

The hope of the plans is to regenerate the site by converting the drill hall and replacing the other buildings with ‘high quality residential flats’.

The end result would be the converted drill hall and two new buildings creating a total of 34 one and two-bed flats.

Historic drill hall to be converted into new flats. Photo from Sturton Place Ltd. SUS-210110-162832001

Planners say, “The proposed development would replace vacant and dilapidated buildings with new housing in a sustainable town centre location and includes site wide improvements that would improve the character and appearance of the site.”

Communal facilities will be provided in the two new purpose-built buildings.

A spokesperson for Sturton Place Ltd said, “It is designed to meet Hailsham’s aspiration to become a ’10 minute town’ where residents are able to easily access the services they need.

“The proposed use will reduce the number of vehicle movements, when compared to the previous health centre, which has been closed for many years. One of many provisions to support a positive impact on air quality, will be the inclusion of electric car charging points.

Dilapidated building to be demolished and replaced with new flats. Photo from Sturton Place Ltd. SUS-210110-162412001

“The new residential flats will be built in two blocks, one to the front of the site and a second, set further back. Each block will be of individual design, with many of the new homes enjoying balconies and views across the Cuckoo Trail and towards the Cricket Club.

“The five flats created from the drill hall, will be sympathetically designed to preserve the historic feel of the building.

“The development will create a positive gateway to the town centre, whilst restoring the former drill hall, a non-designated heritage asset within the Hailsham conservation area.

“The regeneration of the site will provide a much needed investment to the town and support for local businesses, during an otherwise difficult time.”

How the development will look. Photo from Sturton Place Ltd. SUS-210110-162458001

Members of the public can comment on the plans until October 29 (Planning reference: WD/2021/1971/MAO).

How the development will look. Photo from Sturton Place Ltd. SUS-210110-162435001