Decision due on replacing garages with new homes in Shoreham and Southwick

Adur District Council is seeking to knock down garages at three separate sites and replace them with homes.

The local authority is looking to develop what it calls ‘hidden homes sites’.

This comes as it struggles to meeting housing targets due to a lack of available land.

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Officers said a ‘step change’ is needed in order to meet targets under the Adur Local Plan and this could include developing on sites such as these.

The garages in St Giles Close, Shoreham, proposed to be demolished to make way for new homes

They added: “At present, the council is seeking to develop a number of garage sites across the district for residential purposes.”

One garage site earmarked for development is St Giles Close, Shoreham-by-Sea.

ADC plans to demolish five blocks – which contain about 30 garages – and replace them with two two-bed and two one-bed dwellings. Ten parking spaces would serve the new properties as well as gardens.

Original plans were changed to reduce the number of homes and also to reduce the height of buildings to the east of the site, which will now be bungalows.

The highways authority West Sussex County Council said that the current garages are ‘only suitable for a small car’ and therefore it is not considered that any parking spaces would be lost.

But the site is surrounded on all sides by terraced and semi-detached houses and two objections have been made to the proposals.

Concerns include a loss of privacy, overlooking, increased noise and disturbance, adverse impact on the area’s character and a loss of biodiversity.

One St Giles Close resident said they were concerned about the potential for noise both during and after the construction.

They said: “I am unhappy with this proposal due to noise and disturbance that will incur due to the building of the premises.

“Further to this, the disturbance may be enhanced as there will be a greater population once residents start to live in the premises.”

Another St Giles Close resident said they objected due to potential ‘overlooking’ and ‘loss of privacy’.

But council officers said that compromises may have to be reached in the interest of reaching housing targets.

They explained: “The site is constrained and this limits the amount of development that can be achieved and the quantum of development has already been reduced at the pre-application stage.

“What is not in doubt is there is a critical need for new housing in the district, and that opportunities to use a site like this must be looked at positively if the council is going to attempt to meet its housing needs.”

Officers also commented that a ‘step change’ is needed to meet housing targets in the area and that ‘rigid adherence’ to distances between properties and overlooking standards ‘might not be justified’ in light of this.

Another block of garages in Shoreham-by-Sea could also be replaced by new homes.

ADC proposes to replace garages at Wilmot Road with four two-bed houses and one one-bed bungalow as well as nine parking spaces.

One extra house was included in original plans to the west of the site but has been removed to minimise the impact on existing neighbours.

Council officers said there were ‘no objections to the loss of the garages’, adding: “Given the constraints of the district such as flood risk and proximity to National Park and sea, it is clear that a redevelopment of a site such as this should be looked at positively.”

A separate site at Gardner Road, Southwick, could also be turned into new homes.

ADC plans could see 20 garages replaced with two three-bed semi-detached houses with gardens and four parking spaces.

The council previously intended to build seven apartments on the site but plans were scrapped after consultation with residents and planning officers.

As with the St Giles Close plans, architects said that overlooking ‘must be considered’.

The plans received one objection from a resident of Kingston House who said: “I don’t want to be looking out of my window on to another property.”

Council officers said: “The low density of the development ensures that it will not appear cramped or overdeveloped.

“The buildings will be 25m from the front of the dwellings to the east and will not cause a loss of light, outlook or privacy.

“The flats to the north are 27m away and will similarly not be adversely affected by the proposal.”

The three applications will be discussed during a meeting of ADC’s planning committee tonight (September 6).

More details about the plans can be found at the Adur planning portal using references: AWDM/1272/21 (St Giles Close), AWDM/1434/21 (Wilmot Road), or AWDM/1247/21 (Gardner Road).