Proposals to build a block of flats in Meads have been refused by Eastbourne planners.
Outline proposals to demolish a home, known as Spring Mead, in Meads Brow and replace it with a block of 17 one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats was discussed by Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night (February 26).
While the application had been recommended for refusal by planning officers – largely due to a lack of affordable housing – several committee members argued there were further problems with the scheme which needed to be addressed.
Cllr Barry Taylor (Con. – Meads) said: “My concern is that the [recommended] reasons for refusal are not strong enough.
“I do think the [proposed] access is a reason for refusal. It is not suitable. If anything, if you are looking for an alternative, it should come down on to Darley Road. That is the only access I would think would be achievable on this site.
“I know it has had planning permission for a number of flats before but things have changed and I do believe this is a genuine overdevelopment and it is not in-keeping and is obtrusive on the street scene of Darley Road.
“I’m very pleased the officer recommended refusal but the trouble is the reasons we are offering for refusal are overcomeable.”
If these further objections were not included, Cllr Taylor said, he would be concerned the developer would submit a revised proposals at a later date which only addressed part of what he considered to be wrong with the scheme.
Several other councillors also raised concerns about the proposed site access, with Cllr Janet Coles (Lib Dem. – Old Town) arguing it would be unsuitable for pedestrians.
Concerns were also raised about the impact of adding extra traffic to the junction of Meads Brow and Beachy Head Road.
However planning advisors cautioned the committee against including their access concerns as a reason for refusal as East Sussex Highways would not support it.
Advisors also cautioned against the using the term overdevelopment but offered an alternative reason for refusal in its place.
Following a short debate, the application was unanimously refused by committee on the grounds it would fail to provide affordable housing, be visually disruptive to the area from a long distance and had not provided enough evidence about the potential for light pollution from the South Downs National Park.
Two further reasons for refusal were also added: that the building’s layout and scale would be likely to be discordant and unduly dominant; and a reason relating to unsuitable access and risk to pedestrians.
Summing up, committee chairman Jim Murrary (Lib Dem. – Hampden Park) said: “I agree the access arrangements in both areas are poor.
“I know we have been strongly advised to ignore the access on to the main road but we quite often disagree with the officers and on this one I think we are going to disagree as well.
“That road is very fast. We would be doubling the number of cars coming into that area and I think that is an accident waiting to happen.”
Cllr Murray also said the lack of affordable housing was ‘needed to be addressed’.