Temporary accommodation extension in Telscombe Cliffs given thumbs up

Site location plan of the temporary accommodation
Site location plan of the temporary accommodation

Plans to further extend a temporary housing building in Telscombe Cliffs have been given the go ahead by Lewes planners.

On Wednesday (June 26), Lewes District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved proposals for an additional extension to Aqua House in South Coast Road, creating two more studio apartments within the building.

Planners had previously approved several applications to extend and raise the building, which when taken together will see it provide 28 one-bedroom flats and studio apartments to be used as temporary accommodation for homeless people.

The proposals also included plans to create a communal garden and a bicycle store for residents, but sees the loss of car parking spaces.

Objections had been raised to the application by Telscombe Town Council, which described the proposals as a ‘gross overdevelopment’.

These views, however, were disputed by East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs councillor Laurence O’Connor (Lab). 

A member of the town council himself, Cllr O’Connor said: “I am slightly concerned about the loss of car parking spaces, but it is to be applauded that we are going to have additional smaller flats for temporary housing.

“I note that the town council has raised objections on the grounds of overdevelopment. 

“Personally, although I will face flack on this, I don’t agree and I will support this application.”

The town council had also raised fears around fire safety, saying there is no suitable access for emergency vehicles. 

This point was disputed by planning officers, however, who say the site can be accessed via South Coast Road in emergencies.

From elsewhere, concerns had also been raised by East Sussex Highways over the number of parking spaces provided for residents.

Highways says it is not concerned about the number of parking spaces to be provided as short term temporary accommodation, but said it would not be sufficient for private housing, pointing out that this would not require additional planning permission.

In light of this, Lewes planning officers proposed additional condition restricting such a change of use.

In a report recommending the proposals be approved, a planning officer said: “East Sussex County Council Highways have requested a survey of the use of the parking however this would have little benefit as the building is currently under construction and unoccupied.

“It is not possible to take into account in planning applications ‘potential use’, only what has been proposed and submitted to the local planning authority.

“The proposed flats would have limited permitted development rights but a further condition will be added to the decision that the use of the building cannot be changed without planning permission.”