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SEAFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN REFERENDUM - ONE WEEK TO GO

January 30th, 2020.


Seaford Town Council is reminding residents that the date of the Seaford Neighbourhood Plan Referendum is next Thursday, the 6th of February.


Keith Blackburn, the Chairman of the Steering Group of volunteers and Town Councillors, explains: “It has been a long journey, taking nearly four years, but the hard work and much public consultation has paid off. We now have a Plan that has been agreed by Seaford Town Council, Lewes District Council Planners and a Government Examiner, which reconciles the conflicting pressures of government requirements to build a minimum of an additional 185 homes by 2030 and the need to protect the beauty, biodiversity and heritage of our town.

"The Plan gives significant additional protection to open spaces in the town, including the Downs site, but it does not cover the Downs Health Hub in any way, as this particular project is being reviewed by an Lewes District Council Scrutiny Committee, which will be reporting its conclusions shortly.

"The full Plan, a summary and a list of policies are available on the Seaford Town Council website at www.seafordtowncouncil.gov.uk/neighbourhood-plan/ and paper copies are available at the Tourist Information Centre, Church Street, Seaford; Seaford Library; the Seaford Baptist Church, and St Andrews Church, Bishopstone."

The Plan identifies the following ten brown field sites, which are currently used for commercial or domestic use and the owners have put forward for development - Dane Valley; Jermyn Ford, Claremont Road; Homefield Place; Brooklyn Hyundai, Claremont Road; Holmes Lodge, 72 Claremont Road; Station approach/Dane Road (above existing retail space); Seven Sisters Pub, Alfriston Road; Old House Depository, Claremont Road (already completed); Elm Court, Blatchington Road; and Florence House garden.

As well as not being on precious open space, all these sites are in sustainable locations, (as required by government Policy) which have relatively good access to shops, services and public transport. Over 100 homes in the Plan will be affordable Housing. The majority of these will be on the Dane Valley site which is currently an underused piece of land which is in a very good location close to transport links with ready access to shops and other services. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group examined an initial list of 306 sites and analysed 61 sites in great detail. The only sites found to be suitable for housing development were the ten sites listed above. Other sites of a significant size were found to be not suitable for housing development.

The Plan retains the present conservation areas and areas of established character, and seeks to retain the beauty of Seafood Bay by laying out design policies so that any development does not detract from the natural open uncommercialised environment of the seafront.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, after examining over 66 open spaces and considering the extent of protection from the present planning policies, concluded that significant improvements to the protection of some of the open spaces in the Neighbourhood Plan Area would be possible, as they satisfied the strict criteria in national planning policy. Only sites that are “demonstrably special to a local community” can be designated as Local Green Spaces and thereby receive the highest level of protection against development The following nine Local Green Spaces have been designated in the Plan: Bishopstone Village Green; Blatchington Pond; Foster Close Open Space; Normansal Park; Princess Drive Green and old Grand Avenue Bridleway; The Crouch; The Old Brickfield and Site Adjacent to 47 Surrey Road; The Ridings, Lexden Road; and Land North of Alfriston Road .

The Plan also adds a new policy to protect 52 other open recreational spaces which makes it clear that such land will not be developed unless stringent conditions are satisfied, such as a requirement for replacement of lost recreation land by equivalent or better provision.

Developers are required to pay a levy. The amount of the levy paid to the Town Council will increase substantially if the Neighbourhood Plan is accepted by voters. For example, in the next few years an additional £100,000 will be payable by developers to Seaford Town Council for the Newlands development.