A case to make sections of Eastbourne’s Summerdown a conservation area? It’s full of character...

Eastbourne College Summerdown playing fields with boundaries of Compton Drive, Paradise Drive, Paradise Close and Fairway Close. November 23rd 2013 E48018P ENGSUS00120131123145236
Eastbourne College Summerdown playing fields with boundaries of Compton Drive, Paradise Drive, Paradise Close and Fairway Close. November 23rd 2013 E48018P ENGSUS00120131123145236

From: John Penniket

Old Camp Road

Dear Councillor Tutt,

There are issues underway in the Summerdown area that I believe merit adding to the protection afforded by current planning policies.

Historic England’s website, in its section dealing with Conservation Areas, advises, “Twentieth-century heritage is often undervalued and vulnerable”.

I think there is a case for the council to consider making sections of Summerdown a Conservation Area.

Vulnerable it most certainly is. We currently have developers, undeterred by the current suite of policies in the Borough Plan, investing substantial resources seeking to demolish three characterful properties and replace them by a 64 bed nursing home and 14 flats, all in blocks that have twice the number of stories as their neighbours.

Why is Summerdown important? Three reasons immediately come to mind:

Summerdown Road, from its junction with the A259/Church Road to Compton Drive, has a valuable transition of housing from Victorian to Edwardian to Arts and Crafts. Many of the houses are characterful and some have interesting local history. Old Camp Road also has an important historical background and sections of that road have clusters of characterful houses which add to Old Town’s environment. Patently, all of these houses are at risk from applications for more intensive and intrusive development;

Secondly, the area is highly visible from public footpaths in the South Downs National Park/Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These include footpaths both at the top and bottom of the Downland. The present views show great uniformity of height and pitched roofs across the wider Old Town. The insertion of new four-storey high blocks would stand out and, in my view, constitute a significant adverse impact;

Thirdly, Summerdown Road is important to the impression formed by much needed visitors to the town. For events such as the International Tennis Week and Airbourne, many thousands of visitors use Summerdown Road as a ‘gateway’ route from the A259 (West) and Victoria Drive (North) to access the Saffrons/Devonshire Park/Seafront areas. The impression given to visitors using these routes is one of a seriously nice town. First and last impressions are important. We need to keep it this way. I would be grateful if you could give both the concept and potential area of a Summerdown Conservation Area your careful consideration.