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View from the air of Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne

Development of Site 7a



05 Jan 2024 - Site 7a - Judicial Review  Now that the Minister has decided not to call in the Aldi planning application the only avenue left open to us would be to seek a Judicial Review of the decision.

In September 2023 we sent out a questionnaire seeking the views of members in relation to a potential Judicial Review. The results of this survey made it clear that if the Minister decided not to call in the planning decision, the majority of residents did not want SHRA to seek funding for a Judicial Review from Harbour residents and homeowners (55% of respondents were against this idea), and it must be borne in mind that a Judicial Review could run into tens of thousands of pounds requiring a significant contribution from residents.  In view of this clear opinion the SHRA committee has decided not to pursue a Judicial Review.

We are extremely disappointed the views and objections voiced by the local community have been ignored and will continue to monitor progress of the development.

05 Jan 2024 - Site 7a - Not to be 'Called In"  Regrettably, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has decided not to call in the Aldi planning application and is content that it should be determined by Eastbourne Borough Council. Click this link to read the response from DLUHC 

29 Nov - Site 7a - Reptile Translocation Report. SHRA wrote to EBC seeking reassurances about the clearance work taking place on Site 7a that has included the relocation of wildlife. We await a response from EBC, but a “Reptile Translocation Report” document has just appeared on the EBC planning portal that gives further details of the work carried out on Site 7a (it also mentions our letter to EBC). The document explains that the site has been subjected to a “destructive search” and that it is important that the site is now left in its ‘cleared’ state to avoid re-colonisation. We have placed a copy of the report on our website - click here to view it...  

20 Nov - Site 7a Clearance - With members raising concerns about the manner of the clearance work taking place on the proposed Aldi site, SHRA has written to the head of EBC planning asking for further information and assurances that the work is properly authorised and managed. You can read our letter here…   As you will see, it has also been copied to the County Ecologist and Caroline Ansell MP, and forwarded to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Natural England and our Sovereign Ward Councillors.

We received the following response from the Head of Planning at EBC regarding the clearance work taking place on site 7a Pacific Drive.“The capture and clearance and relocation works do not in themselves require planning permission and have been under the purview of a qualified ecologist as well as the strategy having been signed off by ESCC ecology. The police have been informed (by residents) and have confirmed that the developers have no case to answer.
I acknowledge and fully appreciate the concerns raised to date and I trust you will agree that given the facts as outlined above we cannot pursue this matter any further. The developers are consulting with the Council legal department regarding the legal agreement and once this has been agreed then formal planning permission will be issued. After which the developers will need to discharge several conditions.
I thank you for your engagement thus far and I hope that as the scheme progresses your organisation will continue to play an important role to ensure that each element of the scheme can be the best it can be.”
Leigh Palmer EBC

Latest 29 Sept - Site 7a - SHRA's letter to the Minister - Following their consideration by Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee in August, the three Site 7a applications have been referred to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities because they are not compliant with local or national planning policies.   The Secretary of State may decide to appoint an independent planning inspector to examine the applications and advise on whether they should be approved or rejected.  This process, known as ‘calling in’ allows for further representations to be made in respect of the application and presents a new opportunity to change the course of the future for this site.

On Sept 11th 2023 SHRA wrote to the Minister urging her to recommend that the Secretary of State ‘call-in’ the Aldi application for an independent review since it breaches national and local planning policies.  We are very grateful to a SHRA member for the drafting of this letter.  His knowledge has given the minister some real issues that they will/should need to consider before reaching a decision on whether to ‘call-in’ the application.  The decision is awaited. Click here to read SHRA's letter… www.shra.co.uk/pdfs/SHRA7aminister110923.pdf 

Latest 22 August - Site 7a - Aldi plans Agreed - The three planning applications for an Aldi store, a care home and a block of retirement apartments on Site 7a were decided upon at EBC’s Planning Committee meeting on Monday 21 August 2023 from 6pm.

The Head of Planning's recommendation to the committee that all three plans should be delegated to him to tie up some loose ends, and upon reaching agreements on those outstanding issues to allow him to grant planning permission subject to further S106 & S278 agreements on additional issues, was AGREED by the planning committe. On the Aldi plan the the voting was 6 votes for and 2 votes against.

A video recording on the proceedings featuring the arguments put forward by the Head of Planning, local councillors and a SHRA representative and the discussions that followed can be viewed on this page... https://lewes-eastbourne.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/787401/start_time/514000 You can start at Item 8.

Latest - 18 AugustSite 7a - Aldi etc. Lobby of Planning Committee Meeting -The three planning applications for an Aldi store, a care home and a block of retirement apartments on Site 7a are to be discussed and decided upon at EBC’s Planning Committee meeting on Monday 21 August 2023 from 6pm.

The planner’s recommendation to the committee is that all three plans should be delegated to the Head of Planning to tie up some loose ends, and upon reaching agreements on those outstanding issues to allow the Head of Planning to grant permission, subject to further S106 & S278 agreements on several additional issues.  An agenda for the meeting along with the recommendations can be downloaded from: https://democracy.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=3843&Ver=4

We think it is both ill-advised and premature to give the Head of Planning sole discretion to decide upon these applications when there are planning issues that are still undecided, including those in relation to S106 and S278 agreements that are often controversial. We strongly believe that it is the elected members of the Planning Committee that should take the final decision on such controversial applications and then only when negotiations and discussion are complete, and the plans and agreements finalised.  Our Sovereign ward councillors are also concerned about the delegation of the three applications at this stage – please see their letter to residents here… www.shra.co.uk/pdfs/councillors7aletter.pdf

The Planning Committee meeting on Monday evening could be the last chance we get to persuade its members to reject these controversial proposals. To show the strength of our opposition we hope that all those who oppose the application will gather with us and the Sovereign Ward councillors at the Town Hall steps on Grove Road (opposite Bibendum) from 5pm before the scheduled 6pm start of the meeting. We will bring a few placards and a banner. If you have the means, please print and bring your own posters… there are some A4 ones (can be enlarged) on the SHRA website here… www.shra.co.uk/posters.html

SHRA and the Harbour Medical Center have obtained speaking slots and, apparently, only registered speakers will be allowed into the Court Room for the meeting. However, there will be an overflow room available in the Town Hall to watch a live stream of the proceedings and the live stream will also be available online for viewing on mobile devices and at home at the following EBC webpage... https://democracy.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=3843&Ver=4

08 April - SHRA has written to the EBC planners  to comment on Aldi's “Supplementary Note" (see below) Our comments should appear on the EBC planning portal soon and we have placed a copy on the SHRA website here: www.shra.co.uk/pdfs/7aSHRAresponse4.pdf  

22 March - Aldi’s planning consultants, Planning Potential, have issued a “Supplementary Note on Employment Land Considerations and Retail Matters” to support their initial Planning Statement. The note states it has been prepared in response to feedback from a meeting – presumably with EBC officials. The Note has been published on EBC’s planning portal, but because the portal has been experiencing access difficulties, for ease of reference we have temporarily placed a copy on the SHRA website here: www.shra.co.uk/pdfs/AldiSuppNote0223.pdf  

15 March 2023 - Thus far there has been no sign of a recommendation from the EBC planners about the Site 7 Aldi application and the EBC Planning Committee Meeting proposed for 20th March that may have discussed any recommendation has been cancelled without explanation. The next one is proposed to be on Monday 17 April 2023 at 6.30 in the Town Hall

19 December - SHRA's Submission on Apartment Block Plan 
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08 December - SHRA's Submission on the Care Home Plan 
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05 December - SHRA's Submission on the Aldi Plan.  
Our submission objecting to the plans consists of a letter and two reports.  SHRA is very grateful to the residents who put a lot of time and effort into producing the reports and helping with the submission. 
SHRA submission letter 
SHRA Traffic and Safety Report
SHRA Policy and Impacts Report


SHRA will also be objecting to the planning applications for the care home and retirement apartments on site 7A on the grounds that the current plans do not provide enough car parking spaces.
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 30 Nov - MP Responds about Site 7a - We have received a reply to the letter we wrote to Caroline Ansell MP about the proposed Aldi store (see below). Caroline shares some of our concerns and has asked Aldi for a meeting in order to make them aware of the widespread concerns from the local community and for her to urge amendments to their plans. Click here to read the MP's letter...  

21 Nov - Site 7a Aldi store - letter to MP - the SHRA has written to Caroline Ansell MP about our opposition to the planning application for an Aldi store with its only access on Pacific Drive. You can read the letter by clicking here.. . Identical letters were sent to Jake Lambert, Eastbourne Labour Party, Josh Babarinde OBE, Eastbourne and Willingdon Liberal Democrats and Mike Munson, Eastbourne Green Party. Responses are awaited.

10 NovemberThree seperate planning applications have now been submitted to EBC for approval.  The most important thing is for residents to make their comments known to the EBC planning committee and encourage friends and neighbours to do the same. The following links will take you to the different applications on EBC's planning portal where you can view or download the various application documents and post your comments.  It is important that responses are based on the actual proposals.

Aldi application number 220849 - Comments need to be submitted by 8 December: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/article/2087/?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=220849

57 Retirement Apartments application number 220850 - Comments need to be submitted by 22 December: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/article/2087/?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=220850

66 Bedroom Care Home application number 220852 - Comments need to be submitted before 8 December: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/article/2087/?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=220852

If you wish, you may also make a request to attend the planning committee hearing to put your point across in person. This is likely to take place in late December or January.

01 November - The Sovereign Ward councillors have informed SHRA that Aldi intends to submit a formal planning application in the very near furure based on the original plan and completely ignoring the view of local residents. Read the councillors statement here... 

September 2022. SHRA has now received over 60 comments on the proposed development, with two in favour.

SHRA's response to the developer's consultation. Click here to read it...  

The developers of Site 7 held the following events.

1.  An On-line Virtual Exhibition with Consultation Feedback Form 
Website:  www.pacificdrive.consultationonline.co.uk 
Dates:  Between 8th September – 20th September 2022.

2.  A Community Drop-in Event
Venue:  Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club
Date:  Thursday 8th September 2022
Time:  3pm to 7pm

The developers also produced a 2-page newsletter providing further details about the events and introducing their plans for Site 7.  Copies of the newsletter have been delivered to 2000 plus residents or you can download a PDF copy from SHRA’s website by clicking the following link... www.shra.co.uk/pdfs/site7newsletter.pdf  

On Wednesday (24 Aug) SHRA committee members were invited to join an online meeting with the developers of site 7A and their planning consultants. Site 7A is all the vacant land bordering Pevensey Bay Road between the Harbour Medical Centre and the Macaulay Place open space.

The developers are Aldi, McCarthy Stone and LNT Care and their initial plans for the site propose an Aldi store and car park (these would be adjacent to the medical centre and we were told the store will be about the same size as the Aldi at Hampden Park), a 66 bed, three-story, residential care home and a four-story block of 57 retirement living apartments - the latter two within landscaped gardens. All three developments will be accessed from Pacific Drive.

We asked about this access and were told that they could not have the entrances on Pevensey Bay Road as beneath the site there is large gas main running parallel to the main road and the entrances would have to run across it. In addition, the local authority was averse to having any more junctions on the main road. There were attempts to re-assure us that this would not be a problem at all.

Our initial thoughts are that:
• The care home and retirement accommodation could be welcomed developments on this vacant land.
• The three developments will create local jobs.
• Aldi may attract customers from far and wide adding to the local traffic on the estate with the associated increases in noise and pollution. Parking could spill over to the surrounding roads.
• There is only one traffic exit to the North Harbour estates and putting the Aldi exit on Pacific Drive may cause congestion that could be a risk to evacuation should there be a major fire or catastrophe in the harbour.

Finalised plans have not yet been submitted for formal planning consent, and the developers told us they would take away our concerns for further consideration. They had already discussed the plans with the ward councillors..

SHRA's View

Like almost all of the residents who contacted us, we believe the planned access, the increase of traffic along Pacific Drive, the resulting pressure on local infrastructure and local services, as well as the environmental damage and loss of a peaceful ambience, would severely impact the safety, health and well-being of North Harbour residents.

In view of this SHRA opposed the development proposal in its current layout and submited its own contribution to the consultation.  Read it here...  

The developer's response to the results of the consultation was to seemingly ignore large numbers of comments from residents opposing the plans, particularly the idea of having the access to the Aldi store on Pacific Drive. 

Instead, without any modification to the plans, they have submitted three planning applications for EBC approval (see other panel).

SHRA submiited their objections to  each of the three plans as did hundreds of residents.  Our concerns were ignored.

Check out our posters

Find A4 and A5 poster PDF files for you to print and display at home here:
https://www.shra.co.uk/posters.html