Fresh bid launched to knock down former Eastbourne hospital

An artist's impression of what the development might look like SUS-181029-164214001
An artist's impression of what the development might look like SUS-181029-164214001

Developers have launched a fresh bid to demolish a historic house in Eastbourne which was once a First World War Hospital.

In April, town planners refused a move to knock down Kempston in Granville Road to make way for a block of 16 flats.

SUS-180419-142439001

SUS-180419-142439001

But a fresh bid has been submitted to the council for the same amount of flats but with, what the building’s owners Associated Property Owners Ltd describes as, amendments to overcome concerns expressed by historians and campaigners who did not want to see the loss of a historic Victorian villa in the Meads area and wanted to see the building refurbished instead.

Campaigners discovered earlier this year that Kempston was opened as a Red Cross Hospital in March 1915 by Mrs Davies-Gilbert and Miss Helena Catherine Sulman, the commandant of the Red Cross Detachment Sussex/118. It emerged soldiers from the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries were brought to Eastbourne from Dover on hospital trains, and nearly 3,000 were treated at the hospital, many receiving successful operations in the operating theatre.

Six soldiers who died at the hospital are commemorated on the First World War memorial at St Saviour’s and St Peter’s Church.

The new application has been submitted to the council and Kempston’s owners have also launched an appeal to the planning inspector for the previous refusal in April.

Campaigners say they will continue to fight to save the building.