Fresh 100-home plan approved for Eastbourne town centre site

Revised proposals for a major housing development in Eastbourne have been given the go ahead by town planners. 

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 3:20 pm
The Bedfordwell Pump House, Bedfordwell Road

On Tuesday (August 24), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee approved new proposals to build 100 houses and flats at the former Bedfordwell Road Depot site. 

The site has an extensive planning history including an existing but stalled planning permission for 102 flats and houses, which was granted to Orbit Homes in 2015.

While broadly similar in overall numbers, the new proposals, from the council itself, have an updated design and layout as well as a new approach to the conversion of the site’s Grade II listed Victorian pump house.

Karen Tipper, from the scheme’s agents ECE Planning, said: “The application will deliver 100 homes including 40 per cent affordable housing, together with a single commercial unit, in a highly sustainable location and on a site using previously developed land.

“At the heart of the current proposal is the desire and the statutory duty to conserve the listed building. The pump house has been vacant for a considerable period of time and has deteriorated extensively.

“This deterioration will only increase if appropriate intervention is not agreed.”

The pump house is to be converted into an apartment building comprised of 20 flats.  Part of the building is to house a small commercial space as well. A further 21 flats would be within three new buildings elsewhere on the site. 

The Bedfordwell Pump House, Bedfordwell Road

The remaining properties would be made up of: 29 two-bedroom and 30 three-bedroom houses of various sizes.

Across the site, 40 homes are expected to be affordable, to be made up of 33 units of affordable rent and seven shared ownership homes.

The committee was largely supportive of the scheme, although there were some areas of concern for councillors. 

Perhaps the most significant was the site’s access on to Bedfordwell Road, which the committee heard was to be subject to further agreement with East Sussex Highways.

The Bedfordwell Pump House, Bedfordwell Road

Concerns around the impact on this busy road had also been raised by a number of local residents.

Another area of concern was the site’s cycle path, which runs from the north of the site to the town centre. Running through the site, the cycle path is one metre wide on a shared road surface.

This set-up had seen concerns raised by local cycling advocacy groups, particularly as the site had the potential to be extended to the north in the future, meaning the cycle path would be on a far busier road.

However, planning officers said the cycle path was acceptable for the current proposals and could potentially be revisited at a later date should the further development take place.

There were also concerns from East Sussex County Council around the lack of detailed drainage plans for the site. In light of this, the committee unanimously granted permission subject to these being agreed. Listed building consent was also granted.

For further information on the proposals see application reference 210247 on the Eastbourne Borough Council website.