Eastbourne planning saga ends as car park for vets given thumbs up

A view of the site from Eversfield Road. Photo courtesy of Google maps.
A view of the site from Eversfield Road. Photo courtesy of Google maps.

The creation of a new car park for an Eastbourne veterinary surgery is hoped to bring an end to a long-running planning saga.

Developers have submitted five unsuccessful applications to build housing on vacant land to the rear of 15 Hartfield Road between 2004 and 2016.

A final unsuccessful application – to turn the site into a commercial car park for use by St Anne’s Veterinary Group – was refused by Eastbourne Borough Council in December last year.

However revised plans for the car park were submitted, including extra measures to control its use to core business hours, were unanimously approved by the council’s planning committee on Tuesday (October 23).

Several councillors commenting on the site’s long history.

They included Janet Coles (Lib Dem. – Old Town), who said: “I remember [looking at] this particular area in 2011 when I was first on the planning committee as a substitute. I see that it was, in fact, refused and then refused again in 2016.

“It has been consistently refused and it strikes me that this [application] may be the best use for this area.

“The important thing to me is the conditions that are now being placed upon it. First-of-all the landscaping – that is very important to my mind – to soften the area and make very good practical use of it.

“If this is going to be used for the staff of the veterinary practice then this means there will be 10 fewer people parking on streets in the surrounding area. That is a very good thing.”

Before making a decision the committee also considered a number of objections raised by neighbours, who said the use of the site as a car park would create ‘unacceptable living conditions’ for residents.

However planning officers disagreed with this argument, saying the use of the site would be intermittent and would bring a ‘eyesore’ back into use.  

In approving the plans, the committee also agreed to impose a number of conditions on developers. They include conditions prohibiting the use of the car park by anyone other than veterinary surgery staff and a condition requiring the installation of a code-locked gate.

The site was formerly part of a rear garden of a large detached dwelling, which has since been subdivided into flats.

It was then required by condition to be used as a car parking area to serve the flats, but this was removed by a subsequent application.

For more information on the scheme search for application reference 180801 on the Eastbourne Borough Council planning site.