Planners approve fresh approach to controversial Langney site

Revised proposals for a controversial housing development in Langney have been given the go-ahead by town planners.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 3:05 pm

On Tuesday (August 24), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee approved an application from developer Park Lane Homes to build 49 homes at the former Woods Cottages site, off Langney Rise.

The site already had planning permission for 35-homes from a previous applicant, which was approved by the committee in 2019.

As well as an increase in the overall number of homes, the revised scheme is significantly different in terms of its housing mix.

The derelict Woods Cottages in Swanley Close

The previously-approved scheme was to be formed of 11 flats, 19 three-bedroom houses and five four-bedroom houses. The new scheme would be made up of nine three-bedroom houses and 40 two-bedroom houses (although seven of these would have office/study rooms).

Unlike the previous scheme, however, developers are arguing the site should not include any affordable housing, as to do so would make the scheme ‘financially unviable’.

Following an independent assessment, the developer agreed to provide £105,657 towards affordable housing off-site.

Despite the lack of affordable housing, councillors praised the revised housing mix, due to its inclusion of a greater number of smaller two-bedroom homes and approved the new plans unanimously. 

Cllr Jane Lamb (Con, Meads) said: “I was concerned when I saw the increase in the number of homes from 35 to 49, but looking at the way it has been planned … it doesn’t feel oppressive or cramped.

“I think whoever has designed this has done a very good job in terms of making it interesting while getting more homes in.

“So I totally support it, while congratulating the people involved in designing it.”

Committee chairman Jim Murrary said: “I shared the same concerns Cllr Lamb had; 35 to 49 is a big increase.

“But the design of it is really nice and the quality of the two-bedroom houses as opposed to the three- and four-bedroom, which don’t necessarily sell that well.”

He added: “I appreciate Park Lane. Park Lane being a great development company coming into the town.

“They’ve applied for planning permission and I’m hoping the diggers are going to come in tomorrow, because this building site has been flipped so many times now and it would be nice to it developed.

“But I would like to see them contribute a bit more to affordable housing if they can in future.”

While approved, the scheme had seen objections raised by a number of local residents. These objections cover a wide range of concerns, including the impact of additional traffic, potential for flooding and loss of ecology.

Others also argued the revised scheme would be an overdevelopment of the site.

Access, which was a particularly controversial element of the previous scheme, would remain at the southern side of the site with double-yellow lines at both sides.

The scheme was also initially intended to be gated, but this has been withdrawn in light of concerns from East Sussex Highways. Some councillors expressed disappointment over this decision, however.

For further information on the proposals see application reference 210485 on the Eastbourne Borough Council website.