Upset at plan for extra storey on Eastbourne block of flats

Opposition is growing over plans to put an extra storey on a block of flats in the middle of one of Eastbourne’s conservation areas.

Monday, 8th February 2021, 4:07 pm
How the proposed extra storey would look on Torfield Court SUS-210802-154724001

Torfield Court, a three storey building with 18 flats in St Anne’s Road, is not in the Torfield Conservation Area but is surrounded by it and Novos Capital Ltd, which owns the freehold of the block, is behind an extension plan.

The bid – which would see six extra flats on the additional storey – is believed to be the first permitted development rights application in Eastbourne following the government’s changes to planning regulations brought in last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This means it will not go before a meeting of Eastbourne’s planning committee but will need council approval.

The application has however attracted a swathe of objections since the plans were unveiled from conservationists as well as neighbours in St Annes Road, Selwyn Road and Torfield Road whose properties are within the conservation area and residents from Torfield Court too.

A spokesperson for the group said, “Any form of roof extension would increase the prominence of the apartment building and draw attention to it from public viewpoints within and adjoining the conservation area and in doing so would cause unacceptable harm in competing with the height and architectural qualities of the neighbouring buildings and degrade their conservation area status and historical importance.”

In a letter supporting the application on behalf of Novos Capital Ltd, a spokesperson said the proposed relationship of the extension to existing properties was acceptable in planning terms and added, “The proposals will provide a modest but nevertheless welcome boost to local housing supply.”

According to historians, the Torfield estate was built in around 1925 by local architect and businessman Peter Dulvey Stonham, who initially came to Eastbourne in 1901 as an architect’s assistant and started his own practice in 1906.

Stonham’s work in Eastbourne included houses of various types and styles, most notably arts and crafts style properties, ecclesiastic commissions including St Elisabeth’s Church and commercial premises. He also designed a number of cinemas.

The issue is due to be discussed at a council conservation group meeting this week.