Seaford housing scheme refused at second hearing

Proposals for a small housing scheme in Seaford have been refused after returning for a second hearing.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:25 pm

On Wednesday (April 21), Lewes District Council’s planning committee reconsidered an application to demolish a bungalow in Chyngton Way and build two four-bedroom homes in its place.

The scheme had previously been granted planning permission at a hearing on March 31, but problems arose as professional evidence submitted by objectors (related to loss of light) had, in error, not been considered by the committee at the first hearing.

While this evidence showed the development would have some impact on neighbouring properties, officers did not consider it would be enough to tip the balance against the scheme. 

Committee members felt differently, however, and refused the application on the grounds of its impact on the character of the area and highways concerns, as well as the new evidence on the loss of light.

 Steve Saunders (Ind, Newhaven North) said: “Those who were present at the last meeting know that myself and at least one other councillor voted against the proposal to grant permission for this particular application.

“My views have not changed, in fact they have been probably strengthened by this additional information that has come to light.”

He added: “Whilst I have got no problem with the actual design of the buildings themselves, I think they look quite nice, I do recognise the fact that they are squeezed on the site. That does again exacerbate the change in established character along the road.

“I still don’t think enough consideration has been given to the problems of exiting of one property on to that roundabout. Whilst I understand that ESCC Highways have not really suggested there is much of a problem, it does meet the criteria they would normally state.”

Similar views were raised by committee chairman Sharon Davy (Con), who said: “This particular daylight and sunlight assessment has made me re-look at this application.

“Clearly I have, like my colleagues, read every single objection and of course those in support of this particular proposal. 

“I think [the site] is an important gateway for Seaford and therefore we refer to the Seaford Neighbourhood Plan; the right of light is an important facet of it.

“Other points that have been brought up by colleagues are of course the impact on the established area. There are not houses close together in this very spacious area.

“I very much respect the amount of work officers have put into reports but on this occasion I’m afraid I can’t support this recommendation.”

While some committee members took a different view, following discussion the scheme was refused with seven votes to four. Notably, the committee was also not made up of exactly the same members as those at the March 31 meeting.

For further information on the scheme see application reference LW/20/0565 on the Lewes District Council website.

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The application was brought back for a second hearing as a loss of light survey submitted by objectors was not presented to councillors at the first hearing. 

The survey showed the proposed buildings would impact on the light of a neighbouring property, although officers argued it would not be significant.

According to council papers, the evidence had been submitted on March 29, shortly before the deadline for submissions ahead of the March 31 hearing.

While submitted in time, officers said, it had not been passed on to either the case officer or to Mr Hill, who were unaware of it.  

As the evidence was a material consideration the original decision was not enacted and a second hearing called “in the interest of natural justice”.

The incident saw some significant criticism levelled by objectors, who said it showed the council’s planning department was “not fit for purpose”.