Conversion of empty Eastbourne care home into house approved at appeal by planning inspector

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Plans to convert a former Eastbourne care home into a house have been approved at appeal.

In a decision notice published on Monday (May 15), a planning inspector has given the green light to convert Keller House, a vacant former care home in Carew Road, into a family home.

The inspector’s decision overturns Eastbourne Borough Council’s refusal of the conversion last year.

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Planning officers had refused the conversion on the grounds that it would harm the character and appearance of the area, not make sufficient use of the site or provide enough livable space for future residents.

Care home due to be convertedCare home due to be converted
Care home due to be converted

The inspector took a different view, however, concluding that the building being left empty (as it closed its doors in 2016) meant the harm to character of the area should have been weighed differently. They also said an alternative development, such as a flats conversion, would be likely to cause more harm than what was proposed.

In their decision notice, the inspector said: “As the building has been unoccupied for over five years, the building fabric is decaying. Without an active use the building’s condition will continue to decline.

“However, most of the character and appearance of the original dwelling has endured, and the proposed change in the use of the building back to a dwelling would sustain its positive contribution to the sense of place.”

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They added: “The proposal would provide a good sized family home and garden within the reasonably accessible Upperton neighbourhood. The appellant is willing to invest in the deteriorating building now, and there are no other proposals for the building and/or its site before me.”