Seaford residents angry over town centre development plan

V Bar Pelham Yard Seaford. August 12th 2013 E33003P
V Bar Pelham Yard Seaford. August 12th 2013 E33003P

A petition has been set up after plans were announced to convert V Bar in Seaford into homes.

Residents have said the building would better serve the community by providing a retail service in the tourist destination.

But in a planning statement to Lewes District Council the agent said the existing use was not viable and that the pub had been marketed for more than a year at a fair market rent and on flexible terms.

The agent Tezel Bahcheli has applied for planning permission on behalf of the owner to transform the property in Pelham Yard into three residential units.

In the planning brief to the district council it said in recent years the building had become increasingly run down.

The petition said: “The V Bar is in the centre of a commercial part of Seaford Town Centre surrounded by busy retail outlets.

“There is a steady flow of commercial traffic all day. We consider this proposed residential development to be unsuitable for the town centre.

“The current debate led by the department of communities and local government on improving our High Streets and town centres (also the Portas Pilots) encourages us to support more businesses in the town centre, not less. We believe this building should be maintained as a mainly commercial unit.

“We believe that as a seaside town and tourist destination, this building would better serve the local community and its visitors by providing some form of retail service.”

Almost 20 residents have signed the petition and their opposition was echoed by Seaford Town Council which registered a strong objection to the proposals, pointing out turning commercial property into residential was again the district council’s policy.

News that the pub could be turned into homes prompted business Martin D Johnson Antiques Limited to tell the council it could be forced to move out if the application were approved.

This was due to fears the extra homes could make it difficult for lorries to access its warehouse, which is next to the site.

East Sussex County councillor Carolyn Lambert (L.Dem, Seaford Blatchington) has also objected to the proposal, saying the loss of the pub would detract from the vitality and viability of the town centre.

Lewes district councillor and deputy leader of Seaford Town Council, Cllr Paul Franklin (Con, Seaford North) also wrote to the council to voice his objections, highlighting how hard local businesses had worked to revive this part of town and adding lorry movements from the businesses would be made more difficult if the pub were turned into homes.

The agent also said a marketing report demonstrated there was no demand for the property as a pub or restaurant and that the area was over supplied with pubs and restaurants.

The planning brief also argued as a pub offering bed and breakfast, the site generated a considerable amount of traffic and argued the homes would generate less traffic. The scheme includes turning the pub into a terrace with three residential units.

Lewes District Council’s planning committee will have the final say on the plans.