Eastbourne needs a sensitive housing policy

From: Peter PritchettSummerdown Road, Eastbourne

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 3:36 pm

Many of your readers will have seen a number of reports in the local press regarding planning applications for housing developments, many of which are infill or redevelopment sites within established housing areas, and which are causing much opposition and anxiety.

I raise a plea to our elected national and local representatives, together with those decision makers who are employed on our behalf to challenge what appears to be a concerted effort to maximise the scale of developments at the expense of long-held sensible planning policies, guidelines and common sense.

Whilst most of us would probably accept that some form of development is acceptable, particularly where there is a need to improve or add to the housing stock, this should not be at the expense of the overriding principles of scale and character of the area.

Much harm can be created if proposals are detrimental to the local residential amenities and cause visual damage to the street scene. New housing proposals of whatever type, be they independent buildings or flats, require their own amenity spaces creating healthy, greener and enduring developments.

Outside space for a flats development cannot be simply provided by way of balconies, this often leads to unattractive but understandable extra storage space. Not cram as many units into spaces to maximise profit or to meet the current short term need for housing quotas.

We should not be seeing such apparent high density piecemeal proposals/applications to meet the housing needs with the pressure this brings to all, but see a strategic policy and a shared understanding of what is required to ensure that the established and cherished areas of our lovely town are not spoilt forever.

Let us see sensitive schemes for all levels of housing that can be an exemplar of what can be achieved and which all those involved, and eventual owners can be proud.

Such vision may mean eating into green land, such as the borders of the Eastbourne Park, but surely this would be preferable to seeing the ill-conceived and cramped developments, such as the residential scheme close to the Hospital roundabout.

Careful developments with green space amenity can be achieved with a little more thought and less pressure on quotas. How much nicer it is to see the green space that was left bordering onto the Rodmill development also close to the Hospital roundabout.

The demise of the town centre department stores also gives the opportunity of a wider view of mixed use redevelopment incorporating additional housing, the opportunity to create attractive courtyard amenity spaces for the enjoyment of visitors to the town, coffee and tea shops and eateries.

Come on Eastbourne rise to the challenge! Let us all be proud of what can be achieved with a little more lateral thinking.