New Peacehaven housing development for industrial site approved

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Proposals to build housing on an industrial site in Peacehaven have been given the go ahead by Lewes planners.

On Wednesday (September 18), Lewes District Council’s planning committee approved proposals to build a 31-home scheme at a plant hire depot in Cripps Avenue.

The scheme will see the demolition of existing buildings on the site – which borders Epinay Park – with 22 two storey homes and a three-storey flat block built in their place.

Before making a decision, the committee heard from recently-elected Peacehaven town councillor Dawn Paul, who said she had ‘serious concerns’ about the development.

Cllr Paul said: “As we already know there are 31 one, two and three-bedroom dwelling proposedly coming on to this plot, which to me seems rather excessive and really out-of-keeping with the other properties in the area.

“I am not against housing development in Peacehaven, if it is in the right location. However, in my opinion, this proposed development is definitely not in the right location.”

Cllr Paul said her main concern was around adding to traffic around Cripps Avenue and Pelham Rise, which she said already suffered from serious congestion as a result of the neighbouring Meridian Community Primary School.

She also raised concerns about the environmental impact of the scheme, arguing the area has poor public transport links which she said would mean almost every household would “have at least two cars”.

Similar concerns around traffic were raised by several committee members, including East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs councillor Laurence O’Connor.

Cllr O’Connor said: “As far as I know this is the first block of flats in north Peacehaven. I note that some sort of account has been taken of this [in the design]. 

“Nevertheless it is putting a block of flats in north Peacehaven, which we haven’t had before. That is a concern and it is not in character with the area.

“The access issues are clearly an issue as is parking and the school, so I have concerns there [too].”

Cllr O’Connor did, however, welcome the sizes of the houses proposed, saying it was needed for the area.

Cllr Steve Saunders (Ind, Newhaven North) also said he shared some of Cllr Paul’s concerns, however he did not consider there to be grounds for refusing planning permission over this concern.

He said: “Unfortunately highways have not objected so it is very difficult for us as a planning committee to go against that. But I do appreciate and understand where [Cllr Paul] is coming from. 

“I note your point and I think it is disappointing that they didn’t look to move the access to the site away from the school access.” 

Other committee members, however, viewed the the scheme in a more positive light, with committee chairman Sharon Davy highlighting the need for affordable housing in the area.

She said: “I too have noted the criticisms and objections from Cllr Paul. I have also listened to some of the points that are always relevant. There are always good and bad points.

“As of the 12th May 2019 there were 38 people on the [housing] register who wanted a one-bedroom home and 31 transfer. That is a total of 69. 

“For a two-bedroom there were 15 on the register, 12 transfer. That’s 27. That is for Peacehaven itself.

“[I say this] just as a reminder that there are a lot of people who would like to live in smaller units. It is a popular place.”

Cllr Jim Lord (Con, Seaford North), meanwhile, put the matter more plainly describing the current site as ‘an eyesore and a blight which would benefit from a sympathetic re-development’.

Following further discussion the scheme was approved subject to a number of conditions recommended by officers. These included a requirement for the developer to enter into a legal agreement to provide affordable housing as part of the scheme. 

Developers will also be required to look at what sustainability measures (such as solar panels and electric car charging points) they could reasonably include within the scheme.