On Tuesday (December 14), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously refused an application seeking permission to build two drive throughs (which were set to be leased by Greggs and Starbucks) within the car park of the Tesco Extra in Lottbridge Drove.
While recommended for approval, the plans had seen significant objection from local residents, who had raised concerns about noise disturbance and the impact of further traffic on the local road system.
Some of these concerns were put forward at the meeting by ward councillor (and Liberal Democrat council leader) David Tutt, who said: “I firmly believe that this application should be refused. The primary reason, I believe, for that is safety grounds.
“I’m surprised that East Sussex County Council Highways have not objected because your own report draws attention to the poor safety record. Significant and severe accidents and two fatalities on the road, in addition to the fatality in the car park.
“Not so long ago, the county council inserted a slip road here. Then they removed it because it was dangerous. Recently they are talking about reintroducing traffic lights.
“I don’t live that close to the site, but I travel past it most days the tailback goes back as far as Churchdale Road on a regular basis.”
While officers said no safety objections had been raised by East Sussex Highways, the committee were of the view that road safety impacts were a significant concern and were grounds for refusal.
Cllr Peter Diplock (Lib Dem) said: “For me it doesn’t really matter what the county say, what matters is local members of this local committee knowing this local area as well as we do.
“We know that safety will be a problem. There have been accidents and there will be more.”
Residents (who in many cases have properties backing on to the supermarket car park) had also raised concerns about noise and light pollution as a result of the development.
Developers, however, argued the scheme would reduce noise disturbance from the current arrangement, as it would see a Tesco Click and Collect depot repositioned elsewhere on the site.
This would come on top of other noise reduction measures, the developer said.
Simon Berry, of applicant Life Property Limited, said: “We have orientated the buildings such that the active shop fronts and car parks and servicing all face Lottbridge Drove, so that the buildings create a buffer to reduce noise transmission and any potential overlooking.
“An acoustic fence, planted and landscaped, will further reduce noise transmission.
“Our reports and stringent noise tests approved by your environmental health officers conclude that the development is within acceptable and current ambient noise levels.”
Officers said a number of noise mitigation measures had come forward during the application process.
This included a change in the initial application for a 24-hour site, with operations to be limited to 6am to 11pm instead.
Committee members were not reassured by these measures, however.
Cllr Colin Murdoch (Con) said: “Noise is something that doesn’t go away. Certainly when you are disturbed in the early hours of the morning, it causes a lot more issues with people than we know.”
Following further discussion the application was unanimously refused on the grounds of safety as well as noise and air pollution.
For further details of the proposals see application reference 210772 on the Eastbourne Borough Council website.