Here’s why Seaford apartment block plans have been refused

Proposals to build an apartment block in Seaford have been refused by Lewes planners due to concerns around its size and design.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:57 am

On Wednesday (October 6), Lewes District Council’s planning committee considered an application to build a block of 13 flats in place of the former Kennards car dealership in Steyne Road.

While recommended for approval, the scheme had seen a great deal of local opposition, particularly from neighbours who argued the proposed building was too large, would dominate the area and lead to an unacceptable loss of light. 

This view was shared by several committee members, with some strong criticisms of the building’s design given its close proximity to the Seaford conservation area.

Design of proposed new block of flats in Seaford

Among those to raise criticism was Cllr Jim Lord (Con, Seaford North), who went on to move refusal later in the meeting. He said: “I am rather surprised that this scheme has managed to get to the planning stage. It reminds me of nothing more than a massive Lego brick type building.

“It is too large, it is completely out-of-keeping and I am just surprised the Lewes District Council planning department have actually considered this application. They’ve put [in the report] the proposal is not detrimental to the character and appearance of the conservation area. 

“I am absolutely shocked to my socks that a sentence of such demeanour could be in a report like this.”

Another major point of contention for the committee was the number of affordable houses being lower than expected.

Officers said this could not be used as grounds for objection, however, as the developer could show the scheme would not be financially viable with more. Initially the scheme was not to provide any affordable housing at all, but after a second viability report the developer offered to provide a single unit discounted for first time buyers.

Officers had also cautioned against an objection based solely on the design, which they described as ‘unashamedly contemporary’, as such a judgement would be subjective. They also stressed that the site, while adjacent to it, was not itself within the conservation area, nor result in an unacceptable loss of light.

It was also noted that planning papers had erroneously listed Lewes District Council as the applicant when this was not the case.

These arguments did sway at least one committee member, but the majority concluded that the scheme would be unacceptable.

Following further debate the scheme was refused on the grounds the proposed building, as a result of its size, scale and design, would be an overdevelopment of the site and have a detrimental impact on the adjacent conservation area. 

For further details of the proposals see application reference LW/19/0656 on the Lewes District Council website