Delivery of three small Eastbourne housing sites given go-ahead

Eastbourne council leaders have given the go ahead for new housing developments in the town. 

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:18 pm

On Monday (March 22), Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet members agreed to move ahead with the development of three small housing sites within the town.

The sites – at Brede Close, Timberley Road and Fort Lane – already have planning permission for housing. 

Council leader David Tutt said: “Housing is probably one of the biggest challenges for Eastbourne Borough Council. 

New homes proposed in Brede Close

“We have targets set by national government, who have committed to increase the housing supply, and those targets are considerable for a council of Eastbourne’s size, with the difficulties we face with very little in the way of developable land and of course the sea which means we can’t expand in that direction at all. 

“We do of course have the need for more housing, particularly affordable housing. When I was younger certainly those who took out a mortgage were paying something like two-and-half to three times their salary. 

“In Eastbourne now the average house price can be something in the region of ten times the average salary. It is very, very difficult for people to get that first step on the housing ladder and it is incumbent upon us as a council to do all we can to ease that burden.”

Of the three sites, Fort Lane is the largest, providing seven homes. Brede Close would provide six homes, while Timberley Road would provide four. 

The council will now seek tenders for the development of the Fort Lane and Timberley Road sites, while cabinet members have agreed to appoint a local housebuilder for the Brede Close site.

Details of the expected costs for development are currently considered commercially sensitive,  although the contract for the Brede Close site is said to be  worth “below £4,733,252”.

At the same meeting, cabinet members also authorised plans to bring a fourth site – at Cavalry Crescent – up to the planning stage. This site would be expected to provide around 20 homes, subject to planning permission

Cabinet members also approved plans to transfer a further site – at Biddenden Close -to the Eastbourne Community Land Trust (ECLT), which would be expected to complete the development itself. This scheme would be expected to provide five homes.

The development of these sites comes as part of a larger programme of council-backed housing projects in the town, which includes several other identified sites at various stages.

The largest of these is the Bedfordwell Road site, which is set to go through the planning process later this year. The scheme would be expected to provide around 100 homes should it be approved. 

Other sites in the pipeline include the redevelopment of Eastbourne’s former law courts in Old Orchard Road, which would be expected to provide around 40 homes. A pre-planning consultation is expected to begin in June.

The council is also in the process of seeking a contractor to provide off-site prefabricated houses.

As part of this wider housing programme, cabinet members also agreed to increase its budget for the early stages of planning for these sites from £250,000 to £350,000.

Cllr Alan Shuttleworth, whose cabinet portfolio includes housing, said: “Housing is a really important priority for this council, in particular providing affordable housing for rent. 

“There is no doubt that there are many Eastbourne families living in crowded situations and many people in high levels of need and it is really important that we provide new houses where we can.”

He added: “A lot of these things will be coming back to cabinet when they’ve been worked up further and indeed in one or two cases some of these are going forward as planning submissions, so there will be more opportunities for the public to be consulted on some of these schemes.”