Controversial proposals to build a block of flats in Eastbourne have been given the go ahead by town planners.
On Tuesday (October 22), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee approved an outline application to build a seven-storey block of 29 flats in place of a pair of semi-detached homes at 54 and 56 Upperton Road.
Before making its decision, the committee heard how developers already have planning permission to build a block of similarly-sized block of 12 flats on the site, which could be built out at any point.
The original application for the site had been approved at appeal after first being refused back in 2008.
The larger scheme had proven to be highly controversial with planners receiving 123 letters of objection from residents on a variety of grounds, including parking and design.
Objectors also disagreed with the ESCC highways view that 21 parking spaces would be enough for the 29 flats, arguing it would lead to an increase in on-street parking in Upperton Road and nearby.
Officers, however, had recommended the application be approved as the site is considered to be a sustainable location and the principle of building a block of flats on the site had already been approved.
Officers also confirmed the layout, design and landscaping are reserved matters for consideration under a future separate application.
While not decided as part of the outline application, committee members raised a number of concerns about the indicative designs included by developers.
Committee chairman Jim Murray said: “Just to clarify we are not looking at the design as this is outline so [the indicative design] is there to show scale and nothing else.
“But it is useful to make our comments now, so we can send the architects away to come back with a much better design.
“Eastbourne’s architects are getting a bit boring – if anyone is out there listening – so it would be useful if we can get some better designs.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Barry Taylor (Con, Meads) raised concerns about the higher number of flats in the new scheme.
Cllr Taylor said: “We are not looking at the design, but we are looking at the increase in numbers.
“We had 12 quite luxury flats but now we are up to 29 flats. To me that is what we would be giving permission to tonight.
“I know we need accommodation in Eastbourne, but we are losing quality buildings.
“Quality flats going to affordable flats – one and two bedroom – makes it even worse in my view.”
While Cllr Taylor moved refusal on these grounds – saying it would be an overdevelopment – his views were not shared by the rest of the committee.
Following further discussion the scheme was approved in outline. For further details of the scheme see application reference 190626 on the Eastbourne Borough Council planning website.