Pub to be demolished and replaced by flats

A revised scheme to demolish a Peacehaven pub and replace it with a block of flats has been approved by planners.

The proposal to demolish the Sussex Coaster, in South Coast Road, and build a block of 17 flats, was granted planning permission yesterday (Wednesday 4 November) by Lewes District Council.

An earlier version of the scheme had been refused by the council’s Planning Committee in January, largely over concerns about the size of the proposed building and its access on to Vernon Avenue.

However, the revised scheme proposed a smaller-scale building with access directly on to South Coast Road instead.

The pub closed in June 2018.

Conservative councillor Tom Jones, who represents Ditchling and Wesmeston, said: “I’m looking at all the past points with regard to this application compared to the previous one. From what I can see most of the concerns we expressed on the first one have now been answered.

“Access to the South Coast Road, taking a lot of the pressure off of Vernon [Avenue], increased parking as well and a reduction in storeys.

“What we need to do is weigh it up against what is being offered and that is 11 one-bed flats and six two-bedroom flats. I think in the past few planning applications we have been very much in favour of these smaller houses.

“It is a need, without a doubt, that we need to produce these sorts of lower number of bedrooms in a property.”

This view was broadly shared by other committee members, who unanimously approved the proposals.

While acceptable to the Planning Committee, the revised scheme remained controversial with many Peacehaven residents.

Among those to voice their objections was Peacehaven town councillor Isobel Sharkey, who submitted a representation on behalf of the town council.

In it, Councillor Sharkey said: “The proposed block of flats does not respond sympathetically to its surroundings and would certainly change the appearance, character and ambiance of this part of the road in a detrimental way. It is not compatible with the location in terms of scale, height and massing.

“Despite amendment to the plan, the proposed building would cause a loss of privacy and light to the neighbouring dwellings, to the north and east in particular.”

Councillor Sharkey also raised concerns about the scheme’s impact on local infrastructure and urged the committee to refuse it.

Unlike the earlier scheme, the development will not include any office space below the apartments.

It will also have solar panels on its roof and four electric car charging stations for residents.

None of the apartments are to be affordable because of the developer’s concerns about the financial viability of the scheme.

While this is not challenged by the council, approval was only granted subject to a £91,000 contribution towards off-site affordable housing.

For further information on the scheme, see application reference LW/20/0204 on the Lewes District Council website.

A planning appeal on the previous application is still pending. It is unclear whether the developers will continue in light of the approved scheme.

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