Plans to convert Eastbourne care home into flats

Impression of the extended building in Denton Road
Impression of the extended building in Denton Road

Proposals to convert an Eastbourne care home into flats are to be considered by town planners next week.

Developers want to extend and convert Meads House – a residential care home in Denton Road – to create nine new apartments.

Meads House Care Home in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180827-104514008

Meads House Care Home in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180827-104514008

The proposals include plans for an extension at the side and rear of the existing building, which had been approved as part of an application in February last year to expand and refurbish the care home.

While the design of the proposed extension has not been significantly altered, the earlier application has been abandoned as developers say it would not be financially viable to refurbish and extend the care home.

An application is due to be discussed by Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday April 23.

In a design and access statement, a spokesman for the developer said: “There are a number of issues with the current accommodation which impact on the day-to-day operation of the house and the quality of accommodation being offered.

“In order to address these issues a major overhaul of the existing building is required.

“After planning approval was achieved to extend the care home numerous building surveys were undertaken and detailed costs for the refurbishment works and extension were drawn up.

“These have proved, however, that it is not financially viable to preserve and improve the existing house and to implement the proposed design of the rear extension.”

As an alternative, the developer is instead seeking to convert both the building and the extension into apartments.

While the exterior design of the extension has already been approved, developers will need new planning permission in light of the change of use.

Despite the similarity of the designs, the fresh application has met with a large number of objections from local residents.

Council planners report they have received letters of objection from 37 individual addresses as well as an objection on behalf of the Meads Community Association.

In its representation, a statement from the Meads Community Association said: “The conversion to nine apartments including living accommodation in the garden area is an overdevelopment of the property.

“The application lists the possible accommodation for each unit as accommodation for three to four persons. This could equate to 30 active residents living within the property.

“Consideration could be more favourably viewed if there was a substantial reduction in the number of apartments within the existing boundary of the house before the nursing home extension was granted.”

The community association also raised concerns around parking pressures in the area, saying the six spaces proposed as part of the application would not be sufficient.

Residents also raised concerns about road safety in the area and the potential for an increased impact on traffic and congestion.

Objectors also raised concerns about the proposal’s impact on the Meads Conservation Area, which the building lies within.

Despite these concerns, planning officers are recommending the application be approved.

In a report, to be considered by the planning committee, officers say the development would increase the use of the site, but not to a level which would result in an unacceptable level of disturbance to neighbours.

Officers add that the loss of the care home would be ‘easily absorbed’ by other facilities nearby, including the recently approved plans for a 60-bed care home at East Dean.

The report said: “Ultimately, the site is located within a residential area where there is an established presence of flatted development.

“The proposed residential use is therefore considered to be compatible with its surroundings, as is the density of the development, with an ample amount of the overall site area retained for low intensity amenity use.”

The application is set to be considered by town planners at a meeting on Tuesday, April 23.

For further information see application reference 190038 on the Eastbourne Borough Council planning website.