Council Leaders welcome Fisherman's Green ruling

Fishermans green

Eastbourne Borough Council Leaders are 'delighted' that the Secretary of State is allowing the council to remove Fisherman's Green from its Local Plan - Growth Strategy, saying the decision is 'great news for the town'.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and the Communities, confirmed yesterday (Feb 20) in the House of Commons that the council is permitted to withdraw the prominent seafront site, which includes sports courts, 'without sanction'.

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State has agreed with us and we can now take Fisherman's Green out of the strategy as we have always wanted to and keep it as a recreational and leisure space.

"Furthermore, as Mr Gove said the withdrawal was 'the council's decision alone', then we intend to use this power to remove other sensitive sites from the strategy such as the farmland on Pevensey Levels, the University sites in Meads, the Sovereign Harbour (in order to maintain the cross party promise that the council gave to residents) and the low level farmland on the fringes of Eastbourne Park."

The Strategic Planning Committee met yesterday (February 20) following the Secretary of State's announcement and will be recommending to Cabinet that these sites are withdrawn alongside Fisherman's Green.

The Growth Strategy is part of preparations for the new Local Plan which is a blueprint for the town's future growth, guiding decisions on the locations, amount and type of development that is needed, such as new homes, health and education provision, transport links and sites that will create employment opportunities.

Eastbourne Borough Council has been calling on the government to rethink its target for 738 new homes to be built in the town every year.

Councillor Stephen Holt, Deputy Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "We have opposed any development on Fisherman's Green and other sensitive sites, so it is great news for the town that our determination to protect these important spaces is being realised and we can take them out without any government sanctions. 

"Up until this intervention, the government-appointed Planning Inspectorate has stated that for a local plan to be adopted, 'no stone can be left unturned' if a council was unable to meet this mandated and wholly-impractical housing target. This is why we asked residents and members of the public for their views, and I believe that it is thanks to them that the Secretary of State has responded."

Published on February 21, 2023