Amended plan for Newlands Development

Seaford Town Council is holding a Planning Committee meeting at The View, Seaford on the 8th August at 7pm to discuss the amended plans for the Newlands Development to which residents are invited to attend and put forward their views. It is likely that officers from Lewes D.C and representatives of Bellway Homes will attend the meeting. Alternatively, residents are encouraged to write in to the Town Council on Following this meeting Seaford Town Council will make a formal representation to the planning authority Lewes District Council.

Planning approval has previously been given for the development of 183 homes on the former Newlands School site. This planning permission will remain in place until this latest application is considered which only covers part of the site. Bellway Homes, the site owners, have been discussing their plans with officers form Lewes District Council and Seaford Town Council for several months to attempt to secure the best possible development for the Town.

Following these meetings, a preliminary discussion of the existing plans (as approved) and outcomes of the discussions resulted in some exciting proposals for the Town.

The new plans include:

  1. Creation of a new 2.5-acre public park with children’s play equipment on the site
  2. Creation of a new 3-4 full size pitch football academy elsewhere on land to be secured by Seaford Town Council
  3. 25% affordable homes (up from the original 8% determined in the viability assessment).
  4. The Affordable homes to be half social housing and half shared ownership
  5. Seaford residents to be given priority for the rented accommodation
  6. The site to include electric car recharge points

To enable the increase in the number of affordable homes the existing school building will be demolished and replaced with a similar main feature building containing apartments.

The new plans mean that the north side of Seaford will gain a 2.5-acre park. Also, that instead of creating one football pitch on the site approximately £350,000 will be made available for a new football academy with 3-4 full size pitches on land to be sourced by Seaford Town Council. The town Council is working closely with local youth football to develop this new much needed facility.

Detailed matters

Information was published by the Town Council last week on the two applications submitted to Lewes District Council on 11th July 2019 in respect of the proposed residential development at the former Newlands School, Eastbourne Road Seaford.

The first application reference LW/19/0475 was a new full application for :-

The provision of a landscaped public park area to the west of the internal access road to replace the formal sports pitch changing rooms and parking spaces set out in the original reserved matters application submitted in April 2019 under reference LW/19/0258

The demolition of the main school building and its replacement with two new blocks providing a total of 21 residential apartments in the same location with parking spaces at the rear. The original reserved matters application had included provision for the main school building to be converted to the same number of apartments

The second application covering the remainder of the site and the remaining 162 dwellings, is in the same form of the original reserved matters application under the same reference , LW/19/0258

These revisions had been proposed by the applicants following a series of meetings with officers from the District and Town Councils. They had been reported to the Town Council’s Planning and Highways Committee on 23rd May 2109. The Committee had given broad support for the proposals subject to an increase in the provision of affordable housing from the original 8% to a minimum of 25%.

The overall target for the provision of affordable housing in developments of over 10 houses, specified by Lewes D.C in its Core Strategy Local Plan is up to 40%. However, in any relevant development scheme proposed the market and site conditions have to be considered when assessing the appropriate affordable housing provision and in this case the viability report submitted by the applicant in accordance with current government policy guidance, specified the figure of 8%. Properly drafted viability reports would be given considerable weight by an inspector if the application where to be refused and appealed.

The applicants have however confirmed in the current applications that the demolition and replacement of the main school building will release sufficient costs to allow an increase in the provision of affordable housing to 20% and ,in response to the Town Council’s request , a further increase to 25% ( 46 units) is proposed. The affordable housing would be split 50/50 between rented and shared ownership units.

The replacement of the sports pitch, if approved, would enable the applicants to make a substantial contribution to the Town Council for the provision of alternative sports facilities in the town which will be developed in full partnership with local youth football provider.