A pub in Seaford with its origins in the 18th century which could be turned into homes has been granted a stay of execution.
Lewes District Council’s planning committee asked owner London and City Estates ltd to look at using the ground floor of the pub for retail, while turning the second floor into flats.
The developer applied to the district council for planning permission to turn the pub into three terraced homes, which sparked a strong reaction from the community.
Speaking at the planning committee meeting on Wednesday September 18 at County Hall in Lewes, cllr Sharon Davy (Con, Chailey and Wivelsfield) said: “The developer could say: ‘No’ and come back to the committee but maybe sometimes you can come up with a good solution, something that will make a profit.”
The planning application has been deferred to give the council time to discuss alternatives with the developer, given the strong community reaction against losing the pub.
However it is possible that the developer will turn this idea down and ask for permission to convert it into homes again or appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The pub has been empty since June 2012 and the council said evidence had been submitted by the developer showing it had marketed the pub for a year with no success.
However Martin Johnson, from nearby Martin D Johnson Antiques, said at the meeting that the pub had not been marketed properly and added he had made reasonable offers to buy the pub with a view to running it as a restaurant.
Planning officers had recommended the proposal,saying the pub was outside the primary shopping area and as a result they could not refuse planning permission for change of use on the grounds of losing the business. Officers also said there were several food and drink establishments nearby.
Seaford Town Council was against the proposal and a petition with 64 signatures was handed in, as well as a further 13 individual objections.
Amongst the concerns were: the building would better serve the community with a retail service, a desire to keep businesses in the town centre, regenerating Seaford, the loss of the second oldest pub in the town and conflict between local businesses and residential parking.
But a report by planning officers to the committee said it was possible that deliveries to the pub would have caused more of an inconvenience than parking associated with turning the pub into homes.