Eastbourne care home conversion plan vetoed

An artist's impression of the care home conversion in Eastbourne SUS-190424-122825001
An artist's impression of the care home conversion in Eastbourne SUS-190424-122825001

Proposals to convert an Eastbourne care home into flats have been refused due to concerns over parking.

On Tuesday (April 23), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee considered an application to extend and convert Meads House – a former care home in Denton Road – to create nine new apartments.

The proposals included plans for an extension at the side and rear of the existing building, which had been approved in February last year as part of an application to expand and refurbish the care home.

While the extension was a little different from the one previously approved, the committee refused the application on the grounds it would cause unacceptable parking pressure if converted into flats.

Committee chairman Jim Murray (Lib Dem. – Hampden Park) said, “I like the design and the way they have kept the features of the house, without altering it too much from the front facade, is really good.

“Everybody knows I am quite keen to try and get as many people out of cars as we can. If we were talking about inner-city or inner-town projects where there is a good bus service or train service, then that makes sense.

“But in this particular case I think the scheme needs more parking. With double yellow lines on one side of the road and the lack of parking being provided at the moment, I don’t think this scheme will work.”

As a result, Cllr Murrary said, the scheme would be an overdevelopment as it had been submitted. But he added that scheme for a smaller number of flats with a larger parking area would be likely to overcome this issue.

The committee had previously heard no suitable parking arrangements had been agreed between the developer and council officers prior to the meeting.

Before making its decision the committee heard representations from several speakers against the application, including ward councillor Robert Smart and Dennis Scard of the Meads Community Association.

Both men said the scheme would be too densely developed in its current form, raising particular concerns around parking issues.

Council planners also reported they had received letters of objection from 37 individual addresses.

But the committee also heard from planning agent Mark Barnard, who argued in favour of the development plans.

He told the committee the flats were of good design, each exceeding the minimum space standards, and had been brought forward as the care home was no longer viable.

Mr Barnard also said the developer was working with the council to find suitable parking arrangements on site – for the six spaces required by East Sussex Highways – and it would be a condition of the wider development.

Ultimately, however, the application was unanimously refused on the grounds it would be an overdevelopment due to its lack of suitable off-street parking and the number of flats sought.