September 4th, 2023.

Lewes Lib Debs release:

The government appointed Planning Inspector has allowed an appeal to build a 40 bed retirement block and a new smaller Constitutional Club on the site of the existing one in Crouch Lane, overlooking one of Seaford’s main parks and gardens.

The developer, McCarthy and Stone, appealed the decision made by Lewes District Council’s Planning Committee to refuse the application.

The plans were approved by the government’s Planning Inspector despite many objections. The inspector said he acknowledged the opposition but decided that there was no harm to the heritage significance of the area, and only minor harm by the massing of the building affecting living conditions of some of the surrounding homes.

Liberal Democrat Councillors have been saying Seaford needs more affordable housing for families who have been hit hard with the huge rise in the cost of living affecting people of all ages. Seaford is already over provided for with retirement homes, with a large number in the town remaining unsold.

Cllr Christine Brett, District Councillor for Seaford South said: "I am deeply disappointed with this outcome and fearful for pedestrians that use this area which is without pavements and has some blind entries. Expressing concern about the conflict between vehicles and pedestrians at the junction of Steyne Road and Crouch Lane as the Planning Inspector did will not make the situation better or pedestrians safer.

"So many local people explained that they want housing for younger people rather than another huge retirement block, and elderly neighbours came out of their flats to actually speak to the Inspector about this. However, as has been the pattern that we have seen with other similar developments in Seaford, the wishes of large businesses like McCarthy Stone are allowed to steamroller over the needs and views of local people.

"Across the country, we are seeing new housing coming forward without enough infrastructure being put in place. This is not just a question of more roads, but services like water and sewage, education and health facilities. We know that older people need more use of our health services, which are already struggling, and this development will make this even worse. This Conservative government is continuing to ride roughshod over our towns and villages with no coherent plans for housing, a failing NHS and crumbling infrastructure."

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