Eastbourne Borough Council has commenced preparation of a new Local Plan for Eastbourne, which will cover the period from 2018 to 2038. The Eastbourne Local Plan will be the key planning document that will plan and manage growth, regeneration and development across the Borough over the next 20 years.
The most relevant of the questions for Sovereign Harbour residents were the two relating to possible change of use for land on Sites 6 and 7a beside Pevensey Bay Road that would allow it to be used for light industry businesses. They are:
Question 14: Sovereign Harbour Site 6
• Would Sovereign Harbour Site 6 be an appropriate and attractive
location for light industrial development?
Question 15: Sovereign Harbour Site 7a
• What employment-generating uses would be appropriate for Sovereign Harbour Site 7a?
SHRA pointed out to residents that when considering these questions (and all the others) they should refer to the additional points and information contained in the Issues & Options document, and that if they felt strongly about any issues in the EBC Plan they should make sure to let EBC know.
BackgroundIn the 2013 Sovereign Harbour Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) both sites were identified as space for employment use.
At that time it was considered that Site 6 should provide employment through office space development, and the flat area of this site was jointly acquired by Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council on a 999 year lease to develop a business park. Pacific House is the result of the first phase of that. Two similar office blocks on the site were planned that would have filled the space between Pacific House and the Community Centre.
In 2013, Site 7 as a whole was considered suitable for a mix of uses including employment, residential and public open space. Since then, the Harbour Medical Practice has been built in a corner of Site 7a. (Site 7b is reserved for the public open space with plans for it currently being drawn up which will be submitted for approval soon. On Site 7c, the first phase of residential housing (Macaulay Place) has been completed, and further building is in hand to provide a final total of 70 homes in a mix of houses and flats.)
It was recognised that there would be a need for some flexibility in the plans for sites 6 & 7 to ensure viability in an uncertain and ever-changing economic and trading climate, but no consideration of light industrial use was proposed; until now.
At the time, SHRA’s thinking on questions 14 and 15 was;
1. We would prefer that Site 6 remain as offices, but if this is not agreed then the council should consider a mixed arrangement – offices and light industry or, since they and East Sussex County Council have a 999 year lease on the land, they should use it to provide leisure facilities such as playing fields.
2. Site 7a is unsuitable for light industry as it lies between the health centre and the new public open space, and along Pacific Drive is opposite residential properties.
On Site 7a, the council are asking that if residents don’t want light industry or further housing there, and that there is little demand for office space, how should Site 7a be developed to provide employment opportunities? What do you want to see on Site 7a? An hotel or a care home have been suggested. Or would additional housing be more acceptable than light industry?
Whatever is agreed for Sites 6 and 7a, we believe that it should be a condition that the appropriate infrastructure be put in place. In our view this includes additional parking on site and a separate access to Pevensey Bay Road. We do not accept the Council’s view that such a change would have a minimal effect on transport. Any change of use to light industry without consideration of consequences for parking and logistics traffic would be entirely unsuitable.
Other Issues Eastbourne’s Direction of Travel: Issues & Options for the Eastbourne Local Plan is an important document that is worth spending a little time on, and well worth responding to. There is much else in the Eastbourne Plan that will be of interest to Sovereign Harbour residents, including a strategy on out-of-town retail sites that may have some consequences for the Sovereign Harbour Retail Park (see page 44 of The Plan). It also proposes policies on flood defences, public transport, the environment and global warming that will have serious implications for the future.
The public consultation on the first stage of preparing the new Local Plan ended in January 2020, though the Issues and Options Document and other associated documents, are still available to download and view via the following link: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/planning-policy/new-eastbourne-local-plan-2018-2038/
SHRA extracted all the questions and options of the consultation document as a separate document that you may wish to view. Click this link to download the full list of questions and options from the SHRA website .