Fisherman’s Green ‘no longer on the table’

Cabinet councillors at Eastbourne Borough Council this evening (March 14) endorsed the next phase of the work to prepare Eastbourne’s local plan after the public consultation closed on potential areas for future housing and employment space in the town.

Local plans provide a clear strategy for future growth, guiding decisions on the locations, the 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. The plan must also address the current and future challenges presented by climate change.

Council officers are now considering the 644 responses received during the consultation and undertaking more detailed analysis of each site still in the growth strategy.

Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “While we are pleased that Fisherman’s Green is no longer on the table, the government’s demand that we build 738 new homes in Eastbourne every year, means other sites that cause equal concern for people do remain under consideration.

“We have agreed to continue receiving representations from residents about other sensitive sites as the council would like to build up more evidence to inform the decisions that we make on the other sites.

“I can also assure residents that we remain determined to protect our local green spaces and challenge any development in areas that are vulnerable to flooding.”  

Based on initial assessments following the public consultation, council officers believe the town’s potential capacity for new homes over the 20-year period of the local plan, stands at 320 homes built every year, 6,401 properties in total. This is less than half the government’s expectation for new housing in Eastbourne over the same period. Similarly, 53,000 sqm of new employment floorspace was identified, against the government target of 76,000 sqm.

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: “I made no secret of my objections to the Fisherman’s Green site being in the growth strategy and I am grateful to all those residents who shared my view and helped to see it removed from the process.

“You have to sometimes wonder if the government is confusing Eastbourne with another town that isn’t bordered by the English Channel, the South Downs National Park and Pevensey Levels, not to mention our nearby border with Wealden in Willingdon.

“I fully understand why local people are concerned about unwanted development, but the only way we can achieve realistic housing targets is by undertaking this exhaustive process of evidence gathering to prove to the planning inspector that the current government housing target does not reflect the reality on the ground in Eastbourne.”

In due course a summary of the main issues raised during the consultation and how these have been addressed will be published alongside the ‘Proposed Submission’ draft local plan.

Published on March 15, 2023.