Decision on Seaford retirement complex delayed

Development at former central garage, Sutton Park Road, Seaford. Photo by Peter Cripps
Development at former central garage, Sutton Park Road, Seaford. Photo by Peter Cripps

A decision on allowing yet another retirement complex to be built in Seaford has been delayed.

Lewes District Council’s planning committee was looking at the proposals for a 38 flat retirement development in Sutton Park Road this week.

However it decided to defer making a decision during the planning meeting held at County Hall in Lewes on Wednesday October 29.

The scheme involves demolishing the former Central Garage.

It will include 18 two bedroom apartments and 20 one bedroom apartments, a communal lawn, walled garden and shared lounge, as well as an underground car park with 19 spaces.

Developer Pegasus Life said the site would deliver high quality homes designed by award-winning architects to meet the needs of both the residents and local community.

Planning officers at the district council recommended the scheme for approval, saying the site had been empty for a number of years.

They said commercial use for the site could not be found and would not be encouraged as there were lots of homes nearby.

The planning officers said the design of the complex made the road look more attractive and would help regenerate this site. Using the land for flats was considered acceptable.

However there is some concern locally about the increasing number of retirement complexes being built in Seaford.

A recent example was the McCarthy and Stone development on Dane Road, which took the place of the last seafront pub The Beachcomber.

Residents are worried about the strain the increasing number of older people will put on local NHS services, which they argue are already over stretched.

They also point out that what Seaford needs is more affordable homes for young people and families to secure the town’s future.

Seaford Town Council objected to the scheme on the grounds of loss of commercial premises, over development, parking problems in Stafford Road and no evidence to show a need for retirement homes.

A total of 15 residents objected to the scheme. One person wrote in support of flats being built in the town centre but added there was a need to provide accommodation for young people and families.

An online petition against the proposal attracted more than 130 signatures. It said the town did not need more retirement flats.

In a recent analysis of Census data from 2011 carried out by the Office of National Statistics, it revealed that 30 per cent of Seaford’s population was over the age of 65.

The study which focused on coastal communities showed that on average 20 per cent of people living in them were aged 65 or over, compared to a 16 per cent average nationally.

In Bexhill-on-Sea this figure was 32 per cent and in Littlehampton it was 26 per cent.

Eastbourne and Worthing can also claim 23 per cent of their population as being over the age of 65.