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View from the air of Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne

Development of Site 1

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Mar 19 - A quick update on the outcome of last night’s planning committee meeting.  The minutes of the meeting can be found on EBC’s website (link below) but in summary; after examining the planning application in detail, reading all the comments made by objectors and supporters, and listening to the speakers at the meeting, the planning committee voted unanimously to defer the decision for negotiations to take place between EBC Planners and the developer.

These discussions will seek amendments to the plans that would reduce the impact, size and height of the building taking into consideration its prominence, maritime location, and proximity to a protected building.  Any revisions would then come back to the planning committee for scrutiny and decision. Should the developer fail to make acceptable revisions, EBC Planning has the authority to reject the proposal.

The full meeting can be viewed on the EBC website using the link below and selecting 'view the webcast'. https://democracy.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=3850&Ver=4

SHRA opposed the development in its current form maintaining it was an overdevelopment of a prominent site for accommodation which didn’t prioritise the needs of the town or local community.  Read SHRA's address to the planning committee...  

A BIG thank you to the local residents who were going to be affected by this proposal and rallied together, to everyone who made their views known to EBC and also to the councillors on the planning committee for the time they took to really understand this proposal and for supporting the local community and town.  It’s not over yet; Site 1 remains a designated development plot and we don’t know how the developer will react nor what their next steps may be.  We will continue to monitor the situation and update you on progress.  

Mar 09 - The planning application for Untold Livings retirement community is to be discussed and decided upon at EBC’s Planning Committee meeting in the Town Hall on Monday 18 March at 6pm.

An agenda for the meeting along with the important recommendation documents can be downloaded from: https://democracy.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=3850&Ver=4

EBC planners are recommending that the planning committee give approval, subject to further negotiations with ESCC, the H&S Executive and EBC Specialist Advisors on matters including, ecology and landscape, fire safety and air quality.  Permission would also be subject to Section 106 agreements on several items including contributions to transport, travel plan and car club, contributions towards improvements to the adjacent public open spaces, and restrictions on age of occupiers and use as second homes, etc. (see Public Reports Pack)

The application generated over 350 objections and 12 supporting comments. In view of the concerns raised by many residents, SHRA opposes the development in its current form and on January 19th we wrote to EBC objecting to the application (you can view our letter using the link below).  This Planning Committee meeting could be our final collective opportunity to persuade its members to reject this proposal in its current form. To show the strength of our opposition we hope that all those who oppose the application will do their best to attend the meeting at the Town Hall on Monday 18th March. We have prepared some A4 posters you may wish to print and bring with you. 

Feb 26 - This document compares the height difference between the apartment block proposal that was approved by EBC in 2016 and the current 2023 retirement block seeking approval. The top of the 2016 apartment block was below the 26m hight of Anguilla Close, while the proposed 2024 block appears to be some 4m higher than Anguilla Close. The final image shows how much it will dominate. Click here to view... 

Jan 29 - SHRA have written to each of the Sovereign Ward councillores seeking their support in opposing the proposed development of Site 1. A copy of one of the letters to the councillors can be viewed and read by clicking here... 

Jan 18 - SHRA have written to the EBC planners to raise concerns about the proposed development of Site 1. A copy of our letter to EBC can be viewed and read by clicking here... 

Since Untold Living’s planning application was published we have been listening to, and speaking with residents affected by the proposed development, and thank everyone who emailed us with their views, suggestions and advice.

At this point it’s of the utmost importance that everyone’s views are put forward to Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee, and the deadline for doing this is now shown as 10 February 2024 (originally 25 January). Comments can be made online at: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/article/2087/?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=230847 The EBC reference number is 230847

By e mail to: customerfirst@eastbourne.gov.uk
Please quote planning reference number 230847

By post to: Eastbourne Borough Council
Customer First
1 Grove Road
Eastbourne BN21 4TW
Please quote planning reference number 230847

Comments/objections should be factual and have meaning within the context of planning applications. EBC's planning portal lists some of the material considerations that should be considered when deciding a planning application, these can include (but are not limited to):
• Overlooking/loss of privacy
• Loss of light or overshadowing
• Parking
• Highway Safety
• Traffic
• Noise
• Effect on listed buildings and conservation area
• Layout and density of building
• Design, appearance and materials
• Government Policy
• Disabled persons Access Proposals in the development plan
• Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
• Nature conservation
However, issues such as loss of views, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material considerations.

Site 1 was granted planning permission for residential units in 2016 and because the building work was commenced that application remains active. Having said that the new application is a departure from the original approved plan in terms of height and the number of residential units and will require a new permission. The original permission in 2016 was for 67 apartments and 12 houses. The houses have already been built (White Point).  This latest application from Untold Living is for 137 apartments.

SHRA will be putting forward an objection to the planning application based upon:

1. Overdevelopment of the site. The original plan was for a total of 79 residences. Untold Living’s proposal is for 137 apartments (around a 73% increase).

2. A significant increase in traffic and risk to safety due to the residential units and related vehicle movements. (Which will include residents plus associated services i.e. staff and deliveries).

3. Increase in noise associated with the additional residential units and service vehicles. Plus the on-site restaurant that is proposed to open for public use too.

4.  At its highest point the new proposal appears to be some 4m higher than Anguilla Close, the next highest building adjacent to the development. These images (from the developers application) show how the new construction will overshadow Anguilla Close.

5. The location of the proposed building in relation to the Martello Tower compromises the integrity and beauty of this protected building. The block nearest to the Martello looms over this iconic and historical monument reducing its prominence and subsequently devaluing the Seafront Promenade to the detriment of the whole town.

6. The proposed car parking facilities are inadequate. 52 spaces to be shared amongst 137 apartments plus staff and visitors to the development will create a safety issue and traffic flow problems, Martinique Way is already short of spaces for the number of residents and visitors ,and the overspill from the new development into Martinique Way and the surrounding area, including the potential to obstruct the Langney Point roundabout, will undoubtedly cause serious congestion.

7. The car park on the proposed development is situated below ground level and we are concerned it will increase the flood risk both to the development itself and nearby properties, especially should the construction of the car park displace water flows below ground to alternative locations in order to accommodate the displacement.

Whilst SHRA will put forward its objections based on the above reasons we should also remember this is an opportunity to mitigate any perceived negatives the proposal throws up and make suggestions as to what would be more acceptable for local residents. For example a reduction in the number of apartments/floors. Other suggestions we have heard are:
• The provision of a minibus to serve the residents of the new apartments and local residents, in order to supplement the local public bus service.
• The inclusion of a continuous metalled pedestrian and bicycle path along the seafront side of the proposed building, allowing those with restricted mobility access to the views.
• A children’s play area built and maintained by the developer.

We understand and sympathise with the concerns and worries of those residents who will be directly impacted by the proposal, should it be approved. We have to bear in mind that Site 1 was always designated as a hotel or residential development plot and therefore we are more limited in the objections we can make.

To view the new planning application on the EBC portal click this link https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/article/2087/?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=230847 The EBC reference number is 230847.  To view the original 2015 application search numbers151056 and 131002. 

Height Comparisons 2015

The top of the apartment block proposed in 2015 was lower than the 26m height of Anguilla Close (see image below), while at a little more than 30m, the proposed 2024 block appears to be some 4m higher than Anguilla Close ( see images above).