Following the approval of the outline planning application for residential development at the former Newlands School site, Eastbourne Road, in September 2017 the developers, Bellway Homes, submitted a detailed application in April this year.

This application was accompanied by a report commissioned by the applicants, which concluded that the development could only remain viable if the original requirement imposed by Lewes D.C in the outline approval to provide 40% of the 183 proposed dwellings as affordable housing, in line with the Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan, was reduced to 8% i.e a reduction from 70 units to 14.

The applicants case was that the viability report was based on national policy guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and took into account issues such as the loss of profit from the requirement to provide 70 affordable housing units, the cost of converting the main building, the provision of sports facilities, highway improvements on the A259 and a large Community Infrastructure Levy payment.

The significant reduction in the affordable housing provision led to a formal objection from the Town Council and many more objections from interested residents. As a result of these objections officers from the District and Town Councils held a series of meetings with Bellway Homes to discuss the concerns over the affordable housing provision and other important issues such as the provision and future management of the open spaces and children’s play area.

These discussions have led to the submission of two further applications :-
1. A new application, under reference LW/19/0475, for a) the demolition of the main school building and its replacement with two new smaller blocks providing the same number of new apartments i.e 21 units and b) the replacement of the proposed sports pitch, changing rooms and parking with a public open space and children’s play area.
2. A revision of the detailed application reference LW/19/0258 for the remainder of the site, to provide 162 dwellings.

The total number of new dwellings therefore remains at 183.

By replacing rather than converting the main building the applicants will be able, through savings in building costs, to increase the provision of affordable housing from 8% (14 units) to 25% (46 units) . Also, the replacement of the sports facilities will enable the applicants to make a significant contribution to the Seaford Town Council to enable the Council to provide new and improved sports facilities on more suitable sites elsewhere in the town.

The consultation period on the two current applications expires on 13th August 2019.

The documents and plans submitted are available for inspection at the Town Council’s Offices at 37 Church Street during normal office hours Monday to Friday. It is open to any resident to submit their views on the application to the District Council. The applications can be found on the District Council’s website

The Town Council’s Planning and Highways Committee will consider its formal response to the application at a Public Meeting to be held in August. Further details will be circulated as soon as the arrangements are confirmed.