Part conversion of Polegate pub planned

Proposals to convert part of a Polegate pub into shared housing are set to go before Wealden planners this week. 

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 4:44 pm

On Thursday (June 18), Wealden District Council’s planning committee south is set to consider proposals to create two five-bedroom houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) by converting part of the The Junction Tavern in Station Road, Polegate.

According to planning documents, developer Bates Capital intends to maintain The Junction as a “food-led community pub”, but would convert both the ground floor function room and the upper parts of the building into the two shared housing buildings.

In a design and access statement submitted by the applicant, a spokesman for the developer said: “Bates Capital primarily turn unloved buildings and wasted spaces into new homes, workspaces and restaurants/bars. 

“They create direct and indirect employment, save their tenants up to 30 per cent on living costs, supporting the micro economy and local community. Their homes and workspaces are very popular with teachers, nurses, professionals, academics, craftspeople and those whose jobs or lives are in a period of transition. 

“The weekly inclusive rents include all bills, council tax, weekly cleaning of shared spaces and optimum speed broadband. The homes come fully furnished and equipped, typically including additional facilities such as laundry areas, bicycle storage and outside space.”

The proposals have been recommended for approval by Wealden’s planning officers, who feel there is a need in the district for the “smaller, affordable units of accommodation” provided by the development.

Some residents, however, have raised concerns about whether there is adequate parking provided within the proposals.

Only two parking spaces are to be provided for the ten residents of the two HMOs, with a further three spaces for the use of the pub’s staff.

While East Sussex Highways says such a housing development would normally be expected to provide eight spaces, it has not raised an objection to the proposals.

This has seen concerns raised by ward councillor Oi Lin Shing too, who argues parking in the area is at “full capacity”.

Other residents have argued that new residents parking in the road could lead to the road becoming inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

Responding to some of these concerns, a spokesman for the applicant said: “It must once again be reiterated that the proposed HMO’s will be managed by a dedicated team available 24 hours a day and the road will be closely monitored and tenants told strictly not to park in an unsafe manner along this road. 

“Whilst we don’t anticipate issues, the name and contact details of the applicants company will be clearly displayed on the front of the building with a 24/7 contact available so that any immediate concerns whether parking or other, can be addressed swiftly.”

The application had previously been due for discussion by the planning committee in May, but a decision was deferred as committee members felt they did not have time to adequately debate the proposals.

For further details see application reference WD/2019/1221/F on the Wealden District Council planning website.

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