Youth hostel could be forced to close

YHA Telscombe. SUS-151021-163517008
YHA Telscombe. SUS-151021-163517008

A youth hostel is facing closure after an application to turn the building into two homes and a holiday cottage was submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority’s planning committee.

Telscombe Youth Hostel currently boasts 22 beds in cosy bunkrooms at Banks Cottages, Gorham’s Lane but will be forced to shut its doors if a planning application to transform the three, 200-year-old cottages into dwellings is given the green light. The proposal was submitted to SDNPA by the Gorham’s Gift Trust.

However, the South Downs Society has recommended the application for refusal as it feels the youth hostel is too valuable to the local area.

A spokesperson for the South Downs Society said: “The closure of the Telscombe Youth Hostel would result in a considerable loss of reasonably priced recreational accommodation in an area where such accommodation is already scarce. The closure would deny members of the public opportunities to understand and enjoy the special qualities of the National Park. The applicant has not demonstrated any lack of demand for the facility, without which conversion to residential use should not be permitted. The society requests the application be refused on that basis.”

East Sussex County Council’s environment advice team provided an archaeological consultation and response. It stated: “I would ask the following condition be applied to any planning permission granted in respect of this application:

“No development shall take place until the applicant has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological works in accordance with a written scheme of investigation, which has been submitted by theapplicant and approved by the Local Planning Authority.

“This is to ensure the archaeological and historical interest of the site is safeguarded and recorded to comply with the National Planning Policy Framework.”

The proposed development is situated within an Archaeological Notification Area defining the Saxon, medieval and post-medieval village of Telscombe. The current building is a Grade II listed building comprising three cottages probably constructed in the 18th century.

The plans can be viewed at www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning by searching application SDNP/15/0441/FUL.

More information on Telscombe Youth Hostel can be found at www.yha.org.uk.

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