Extension to temporary housing for homeless in Telscombe Cliffs

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Proposals to extend a temporary housing building in Telscombe Cliffs are to go before Lewes planners next week.

On Wednesday (June 26), Lewes District Council’s planning committee is set to consider proposals for an additional extension to Aqua House in South Coast Road, creating two more studio apartments within the building.

This latest application comes after the granting of several previous planning consents to extend and raise the building, which when taken together will see it provide 28 one-bedroom flats and studio apartments to be used as temporary accommodation for homeless people.

The proposals also include plans to create a communal garden and a bicycle store for residents, but sees the loss of car parking spaces.

In a planning statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developer said: “This development would offer an unobtrusive extension to an existing building that increases the accommodation and improves the amenity space for the existing residents.

“The loss of parking would be offset by the existing dynamic that the whole development is currently car free.

“The increase in housing would also provide a far greater benefit to the wider area.”

Objections, however, have been raised over further extensions by Telscombe Cliff Parish Council, which describes the proposals as a ‘gross overdevelopment’.

Parish councillors have also raised fears around fire safety, saying there is no suitable access for emergency vehicles. This point is disputed by planning officers, however, who say the site can be accessed via South Coast Road.

Concerns have also been raised by East Sussex Highways over the number of parking spaces provided by the plans.

Highways says it is not concerned about the number of parking spaces to be provided as short term temporary accommodation, but says it would not be sufficient for private housing, pointing out that this would not require additional planning permission.

In light of this, Lewes planning officer are proposing an additional condition restricting such a change of use.

In a report recommending the proposals be approved, a planning officer said: “East Sussex County Council Highways have requested a survey of the use of the parking however this would have little benefit as the building is currently under construction and unoccupied.

“It is not possible to take into account in planning applications ‘potential use’, only what has been proposed and submitted to the local planning authority.

“The proposed flats would have limited permitted development rights but a further condition will be added to the decision that the use of the building cannot be changed without planning permission.

“It is considered that the proposed development would not result in a significant adverse impact to visual or residential amenity and as such is in accordance with local and national planning policy and should be approved conditionally.”