Part conversion of listed Eastbourne hotel into flats approved

Proposals to convert part of a listed Eastbourne hotel into flats have been given the go ahead by town planners.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 4:31 pm
Hartington Place frontage of part of the hotel due to be converted into flats (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

On Tuesday (August 25), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved an outline application to convert part of the Grade II listed Mansion (Lions) Hotel in Grand Parade into 21 two-bedroom flats. 

In a separate vote, the committee also unanimously granted listed building consent for the same proposals, with conditions requiring ‘make good’ repairs be made to the building’s facade on Hartington Place.

Jane Lamb (Con, Meads) said: “I’m pleased that the building will be preserved. It is a very beautiful building and it will revert to some of its previous use as residential accommodation.

“Again, I’m very concerned about the fact that there will be 21 units with at least two people in each apartment. That’s between 40 and 50, maybe even 60 residents with no parking at all.

“The demand from East Sussex [Highways] is 13 spaces and they very cleverly said that the area will benefit from people not using [parking spaces] because of the [loss of] hotel accommodation. 

“I’m not really sure that quite matches up but I accept it because there isn’t any other way that we can go, because it will be overturned.”

The application – which had been put forward by the hotel’s owner Mr Sheikh Abid Gulzar – did not include any allocated parking spaces. 

However, no objection was raised by East Sussex Highways as the parking demand from a residential use was considered to be lower than that of the current hotel.

As an outline application the final scheme would require further planning permission before work could begin.

The uncertainty around the final scheme saw some concerns raised by Robin Maxted (Lib Dem, Upperton), who said: “I do know Mr Gulzar has got his hotel up for sale and whether this is to help the sale go through or not, of course is not our concern.

“I was just wondering if there were any risks involved in us agreeing to outline consent today and then a new owner coming along and putting something in, which would be more difficult for us to resist because it has already got outline consent.”

Officers, however, confirmed that the only reserved matter remaining was landscaping, with all other matters – including internal layout and the number of units – confirmed as part of the outline application. 

This, together with the listed building consent, would “lock in” any developer to the design laid out in the application, officers said.

While a scheme of this scale would usually be required to provide affordable housing, the application argues that doing so would make the scheme financially unviable. An independent assessment of this claim is currently ongoing, planning officers said.

In light of this assessment, the scheme was only approved subject to the signing of a legal agreement through which the council aims to secure funding affordable housing should the viability position change.

The converted property would sit at the rear of the hotel, facing Hartington Place.

The part of the hotel to be converted had previously been formed of four five-storey town houses, which were later amalgamated into the hotel.

Around 32 hotel rooms would be lost as part of the conversion, planning papers say.

For further details see applications 200308 and 200280 on the Eastbourne Borough Council planning website.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.