Developers slash affordable homes provision at former Seaford school site

The number of affordable homes in the proposed development at the former Newlands School site in Seaford has been drastically slashed by the developers.

Layout of the proposed development
Layout of the proposed development

Bellway Homes was given outline consent in September 2017 for a total of 183 homes, including 40 per cent affordable housing, conversion of the main school building to flats, public open spaces, a play area and sports pitch.

But now the developers have submitted a detailed application for the layout and design of the homes, the housing mix and other matters not covered in the first application.

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The 40 per cent affordable housing requirement imposed by Lewes District Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan policies and confirmed in the terms of a Section 106 Agreement tied to the outline consent would have provided 70 affordable units for rent or shared ownership for local residents.

However, the developers have, in the current application, submitted an assessment setting out their case that the development can only remain viable if the affordable housing provision is reduced from 40 per cent to 8 per cent, that is 14 units out of the total 183.

The developers argue in the assessment that the viability of the scheme approved in the outline consent is affected by various factors including the loss of profit on the 70 affordable units, the need to pay more than £1m in Community Infrastructure Levy and the provision of the sports facilities as well as contributions to highways works and improvements under the Section 106 Agreement.

District council planners, together with officers from Seaford Town Council will be meeting with Bellway Homes to discuss the affordable housing provision and other important issues such as the future management of the sports facilities, open spaces and children’s play area.

The town council’s Planning and Highways Committee will consider its formal response to the application at a public meeting likely to be held in late May/early June after the local elections and the appointment of the newly-elected members to the various council committees.