Split views on Eastbourne new build

Proposed designs of the new Eastbourne home
Proposed designs of the new Eastbourne home

Proposals for a contemporary new build home have split opinions among Eastbourne planning advisors.

an application to build a two-storey home in place of a disused garage at 8 Chiswick Place was considered by Eastbourne Borough Council’s Conservation Advisory Committee on Tuesday (July 2).

The advisory group had differing views on the proposals, with some raising concerns about its effect on the appearance of the street while others argued it would improve on what is already there. 

Rebecca Madell, Eastbourne Borough Council’s heritage champion, was one of those who spoke in support of the scheme. 

She said: “I think this development would enhance the look of the street scene.

“I find the garage that is there at the moment looks very sad. It is unusable. I think people would have had very, very small cars when they built garages like that.

“I think it is a nice design that adds to the area and personally I would support it.”

The view was shared by Cllr Dean Sabri (Lib Dem, Hampden Park), who said: “I can understand there are some objections to this.

“But on the simple grounds of a conservation point of view, having a purpose-built residence here, which brings the place back into use and actually appreciates the surrounding area, is a good thing. A lot of good work has gone into making sure that is the case.  

“By bringing a space back into use as a development – a rather underutilised garage space actually and not so pleasant on the eye – I think it enhances the area.”

For others, however, the contemporary design on the building would be out of keeping with the surrounding area. 

They included the Eastbourne Society’s Nicholas Howell who cautioned that approving the design could set a precedent for other small sites within the town’s conservation areas. 

Cllr Robert Smart (Con, Meads) also spoke against the proposals. He said: “It is very difficult to know what to do with this space. 

“To give credit, a lot of work has been done to do the best they possibly could do but I still believe that it effectively does not get over these two issues of townscape and vista.”

Cllr Smart also raised concerns about the wider planning conditions surrounding the application, particularly its relationship with the neighbours in Chiswick Place.

Two previous applications to develop the site (from a separate applicant) had been refused by planners over these concerns in the past.

Cllr Smart also criticised developers for attempting to build on the site, saying it would be better to demolish the garage outright and rejoin the land with the main building.

He said: “The answer is to have no building there whatsoever. 

“I’m sorry but the fact of the matter is that doesn’t mean, because there is a garage there, then it has to be developed.

“The answer, bluntly, is to knock it down to improve that vista from a conservation point of view.”

Following further discussion, the group concluded that it had ‘mixed views’ on the application, so would neither support or oppose it in their advice to town planners.

For further details of the application see reference number 190437 on the Eastbourne Borough Council website.