SEAFORD: Golf clubhouse plans scuppered

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a new clubhouse and function room in Seaford were turned down following a close vote from councillors.

The plans for the new two-storey building at Seaford Head Golf Course were rejected following concerns over the scale of the design.

Members of Lewes District Council’s planning applications committee discussed the application by Seaford Town Council (STC) which owns Seaford Head Golf Course last Wednesday. The golf course site is within the designated South Downs National Park.

The town council has argued that a more up-to-date facility is needed at the premises and clerk Sam Shippen opened the debate saying there was a serious lack of venues in the town for functions and that the current clubhouse was woefully inadequate.

But Tezel Bahellie, who spoke on behalf of the Residents Association of Seaford Head, said it was important to note the National Park Authority had recommended refusal - claiming noise from the development would spoil the enjoyment of those living nearby.

Seaford resident Ian Cairns said he supported a new clubhouse but that the planned building dominated the landscape, adding, “What about the function facility? As a member of several community groups in the town if you have a community facility you like to have it in the town and accessible by public transport.”

Richard Andrews, secretary of the golf club, said, “The course is more than 100 years old and is recognised as one of the best seaside courses in England. Seaford Head warrants a new clubhouse.”

He was supported by Seaford Town Councillor Ian White who said STC had spent some 18 months considering what to do with the site and looking at all aspects.

While several members of the planning committee said STC should be applauded for looking to create a new clubhouse they added the new build was far more dominant than the existing one.

Cllr Gardiner added, “It does have such a huge impact in the area that I can’t support the proposal. I think a proposal which was of a single-storey even with the same floor area I would find I could support.”

Cllr Davy added, “It’s pretty clear what we have now in Seaford is nothing to be proud of, it’s dilapidated, diabolical, it’s an eyesore and we need a new building.

“I think what we’re really talking about is not whether we have a new building but the architecture and design in my humble opinion.”

However, Councillor Jones said he was in favour of the proposal and it was a facility that would attract tourism. He was backed by two other members of the committee who voted in favour of the plans going ahead, while four agreed with the planning officers recommendation to refuse the plans and one councillor abstained.