Plans to build flats above a parade of shops in Eastbourne have been given the go-ahead by town planners.
At a meeting on Tuesday (December 11), councillors approved plans to add two storeys to buildings at 14 -29 Brassey Parade, creating a total of 29 new flats.
Several councillors spoke in support of the scheme, including committee chairman Jim Murray (Lib Dem), who is also a Hampden Park ward councillor.
Cllr Murray said: “The Parade has been a bit of a carbuncle for the last 10 years, so it is good to see something being developed.
“‘Do we want something this large?’ That was my initial question but the general consensus from the public seems to be they are pleased to see it actually being developed.
“I personally like it because we’ve got a number of studio flats in there, which are ideal starter homes for young people.”
Cllr Murray acknowledged the development would be likely to see additional cars seeking spaces in the area, but highlighted the site’s public transport links.
Other councillors also spoke in support of the scheme, highlighting plans to provide eight affordable flats within the development.
However, concerns were raised about the size and design of the building, as well as its potential impact on traffic and parking in the surrounding area.
Some of these concerns had been raised earlier in the meeting by Phil Hearn, of the Hampden Park Community Centre.
While most committee members gave the scheme their support, Liberal Democrat councillor Margaret Robinson (Upperton) said she would not due to the size of the proposed building.
She said: “While I welcome the development to a certain degree, I can’t agree to support it.
“It is going to be very overbearing on the high street of the village. If it was [only] one level higher, then I would go along with that.”
Cllr Robinson also asked for clarification on why it was proposed to sub-divide the building, separating the affordable units from the market rate flats.
Officers said this was at the request of the housing association which would manage the affordable units, not a part of the council’s planning policy.
Following a final vote, the application was approved with seven votes in favour and a single vote against from Cllr Robinson.
Huw Oxburgh, Local Democracy Reporting Service