Proposals for a new build in a busy Newhaven street have been given the go ahead by council planners.
On Wednesday (August 7), Lewes District Council’s planning committee approved proposals to build a two-bedroom home on land next to a semi-detached property in Arundel Road in Denton.
Before making its decision the committee heard from applicant Darryl Liggett, who said he was planning to renovate the existing semi-detached building as well as building out a new family home.
Mr Liggett said: “I’m not a developer just trying to get in, knock something up and make a load of money. Essentially I have always wanted to have a new build house and it has always been a dream to build myself a house.
“When I saw the donor property for sale, it stood out for all the wrong reasons. It looked very tired, very run down and basically needed fully updating.
“The donor dwelling is as important as the new dwelling. What we didn’t want to do is build something new to the detriment of the existing building.
“I’m trying to create a house for myself, to live in and start a family in. So a lot of love, care and attention is going to go into both dwellings.”
While approved, the proposals came in for criticism from some committee members. They included East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs councillor Laurence O’Connor (Lab), who raised concerns over the loss of parking for the existing property and the potential impact on neighbours as a result.
Cllr O’Connor said he had gone to see the couple who live next door who are ‘very, very upset by this whole proposal’.
He added: “This development proposal will inevitably disrupt their lives considerably while the original property is converted and the new property is added. This will be a massive inconvenience to them in their retirement and is causing them a lot of stress and unhappiness. “
Although he said he would not be voting in favour of it, he made a plea for Mr Liggett to work very closely with his neighbours if the scheme was approved.
After Cllr O’Connor spoke, and being the first councillor to do so in the meeting, the committee’s chair received legal advice that his comments gave the impression his mind had already been made up before the meeting.
As councillors are prohibited from ‘predetermining’ their decisions in planning matters – requiring them to at least listen to the debate before coming to any conclusions – Cllr O’Connor agreed to withdraw from further discussion and not cast a vote.
In any case, other committee members were more supportive of the scheme, with it ultimately being approved by seven votes to two.
Lewes Priory councillor Imogen Makepeace (Green) was among those who spoke in favour of approving the proposals.
She said: “I actually like it. It is a two-bedroom property, so there are going to be two two-bedroom properties, which are appropriate for young people and families who actually find it quite hard to find accommodation in this part of the world.
“I think it is entirely valid to do this kind of infilling where the amenities are already there; bus services, the schools, the shops are already there.
“You are just slightly increasing the density which I think is a perfectly valid thing to do when you are looking to house lots of families as we are.
“It is looking like a positive addition to the town.”
Cllr Makepeace’s views were shared by Cllr Tom Jones (Ditchling and Westmeston, Con), who proposed the application be approved in line with the officer’s recommendation.
He said: “We have a housing need within the district and it is not easy to find plots. Single plots like this or even larger plots.
“We are looking at a particular kind of person moving into this area. Probably someone who is young, maybe starting off in business or working and hasn’t got a family but wants to start a family.
“It is an ideal starter home for somebody and we desperately need them.”
Following further discussion the application was approved with seven votes in favour and two against.