Here’s why new homes in Eastbourne back garden have been refused

A controversial back garden housing development has been refused by Eastbourne planners. 

On Tuesday (January 25), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee considered an application to build three new homes in the garden of a property in Old Camp Road; a large two-storey house fronting on to the road and two smaller bungalows on the land behind it. 

While the scheme had been recommended for approval, the committee concluded the scheme would have a detrimental impact on the character of the area and lead to an unacceptable loss of biodiversity. 

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Among those to raise concerns about the proposals was ward councillor (and committee member) Peter Diplock (Lib Dem), who said: “Anyone who knows Old Camp Road will know what a lovely place it is.

The proposed site in Old Camp Road outlined in red

“It’s a really lovely road, with big houses, big cottages and large gardens one the side. It’s one of the nicest bits of Old Town and I quite enjoy walking round it. Most of the houses have big back gardens and it all adds up to making the character of the area.

“We also need to weigh up the potential gain of three dwellings against the loss of biodiversity and the harm to the overall appearance and ambience of this particular area.”

He added: “If it were just one dwelling on this site, I would think ‘fair enough, it is in-keeping with the surrounding area’. 

“This probably represents an overdevelopment  and compromises the character of what is a unique local area.”

Proposed layout of the new homes

Similar views were shared by other committee members, with concerns also raised about the impact of development on local biodiversity, particularly given the site’s proximity to the South Downs National Park. 

The committee also raised concerns about the scheme setting a precedent for other similar developments in the nearby area, on the grounds that further garden development would significantly affect the character of the area.

Officers warned against this line of thinking, however, saying committee members should only be considering the scheme on its own merits.

The proposals had also proven to be unpopular with local residents, with the council having received more than 120 objections covering a wide range of concerns.

The objectors raised a number of concerns about the proposals, including overdevelopment and impact on local ecology and wildlife.

They also raised fears that the bungalows could be extended or expanded by future occupiers, thereby having a greater impact on the surrounding area.

Several objectors also argue that the development would breach covenants on the land. This would be a legal matter, rather than a planning matter, however.

But planning officers had recommended the scheme be approved, on the grounds that the proposed development would not cause ‘unacceptable harm’ and would provide new housing in the borough. 

Ultimately, however, the committee chose to refuse the scheme.

Committee chairman Jim Murray (Lib Dem) said: “I came into the meeting very much 50/50. We’ve got Alfriston Close right next to this plot, so therefore I could see the reason why we might be able to squeeze in two extra bungalows without causing too much distress to the area.

“I’ve listened to all the arguments and I am of a view to agree with the majority of the committee that we might be looking at an overdevelopment.” 

He added: “The plot itself would certainly take the one house, but in my personal view the two bungalows at the rear are an overdevelopment.”

For further details of the proposals see application reference 210536 on the Eastbourne Borough Council website.