Chyngton Corner of Seaford Under Threat from Lewes District Council’s Planning Procedures

Chyngton Way, Seaford

A previously quiet corner of Seaford, recently voted second in national poll of top coastal towns to move to in UK, is currently under threat from flawed planning procedures put in place by Lewes District Council (LDC).

The Chyngton Way, Chyngton Road and Lullington Close corner of Seaford is characterised by an eclectic mix of generously sized properties situated on significant sized plots, but with access to the ‘Seaford Head Wildlife Reserve & Barn’ having been highlighted recently with new signage, locals have seen a surge in traffic from families and SIGHTSEERS.

As a result a corner on the main Chyngton Way / Lullington Close roundabout now sees a constant flow of traffic, resulting in several accidents and numerous near misses. This situation is set to be compounded further by a planning application submitted by the owners of a large double fronted bungalow on the corner of the roundabout to demolish the bungalow and build two detached four-bedroom houses.

The application was first submitted in August 2020 and for unexplained technical reasons was not validated until October 2020, whereupon 26 local residents objected in the strongest possible terms to the development. A number of residents also highlighted that no.3’s owner parks up to 6 work vehicles from his building company on the corner of the roundabout that makes up the frontage of no.3, significantly adding to the traffic hazards.

Given that this area is recognised as an Area Of Established Character and Seaford Town Council objected in the strongest terms that the proposal is over-development, community residents were shocked to learn last week that Lewes District Council have already recommended the application for approval.

The No. 3 corner plot and bungalow is already smaller than many plots in the road. Building two x four bedroom properties on the space will mean that if built, the east property will be within a couple of metres of No.5, who’s residents have already written to Lewes District Council pointing out that the properties will overlook their back garden, and will remove their views and most of the light from the upstairs west facing windows.

The procedures adhered to by LDC are driven by the National Policy Guidance on relaxation in planning laws and the requirement for a rolling 5-year housing supply. While this is of over-riding importance to a Nation now independent from the EU, Chyngton residents point out that the proposed No.3 development ruins an area of character to create just one more property. Other residents have pointed out that LDC have also failed to take into account the suitability of the large bungalow for disabled families and / or families with disabled children requiring easy wheelchair access.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission* report in May 2018 pointed out that a survey of local authorities across Great Britain (Leonard Cheshire Disability) revealed that most either did not mention disability at all in their housing plan or mentioned it only in passing. But it is the structure of the proposed LDC Committee planning meeting scheduled for March 31st that has caused the greatest concern. Due to COVID, the meeting will be held online. The meeting agenda will see three submissions from objectors and three from those in favour.

Considering there were only four supporting (one of whom is a relation of the applicant and lives in South Way), and 26 detailed objections in addition to those from Seaford Town Council, there will be a serious imbalance in the information being laid in front of the committee members.As such, the scheduled meeting patently ignores LDC’s own ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ (July 2020)** and is skewed against para 1.19 of that document that refers to ‘transparency of the neighbourhood planning examination process’ and at 2.19 where it refers to the fact that it is ‘important that the local community get involved in the plan-making stage as well as commenting on specific planning applications.’

Seaford Town Council are also fully aware of the rumour concerning the developer allegedly having influence over the LDC Planning Officer but as far as residents are concerned the decision should be based on evidence and not subjective rumours.

Residents should have confidence that councillors representing the interests of the community operate with insight and integrity in such a contested case, and as those factors are so patently lacking in this case, there must be a full public review of the planning application process.In any event the community are determined that should, despite everything, the application be passed on March 31st, they will seek recourse through a Judicial Review, or through other means.

Plans to start a mini crowdfunding campaign to cover legal fees are already underway.