PROPOSALS to build a large apartment complex in Newhaven have been given the go ahead by Lewes planners. 

On Wednesday, Lewes District Council’s planning committee approved an application to build a 74-unit apartment building in Clifton Road. 

According to planning documents, the development is expected to be acquired by a housing association and would be 100 per cent social housing as a result.

While approved there were some split opinions over the look and design of the proposed building. 

Cllr Laurence O’Connor (Lab, East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs) said: “I know you have got industrial units further south, but it is quite a key site from the point of view of the look and shape and feel of Newhaven. 

“It is a shame you have got lots of small windows and there is not much emphasis on the back there at all. 

“It seems to me that if we overlook [the design] then we are putting people who are potentially going into social housing and saying they don’t deserve good-looking buildings. They do. Everybody deserves good design.” 

Other committee members saw things differently, however.

Cllr Graham Amy (Lib Dem, Newhaven South) said: “I have to say I disagree somewhat with Cllr O’Connor, which is very rare. In actual fact I think this building will very much uplift this part of Eastside.

“Currently it is not a particularly pleasant [site] to live and I know the area very well, because my grandmother and my mother used to live immediately opposite this particular area.

“I understand it is being built by Thakeham Homes and … I feel [they] are good builders. I see this as uplifting and a quality building.”

The committee also saw differing views on the number of cycle and parking spaces provided through the development.

Some committee members felt the scheme should provide more cycle storage at the expense of car parking, while others felt the number of car parking spaces should be kept as proposed.

Following further discussions the application was unanimously approved, subject to a legal agreement on local labour. 

The approved building  is to range between two and five storeys tall and be made up of a mix of flats and maisonettes. The majority – 65 – would be two-bedroom units, with five one-bed and four three-bed units making up the balance.

It would also have an arts studio space and a shared courtyard at its ground floor level, as well as solar panels on its roof.

The development would also have 51 on-site car parking bays, which would be accessed via a dropped kerb crossover on Clifton Road. 

The proposed development would also see the demolition of a bungalow and a number of other buildings connected to a car sales business currently on the site. 

For further information see application reference LW/20/0291 on the Lewes District Council website.