I wrote the following email to Lewes District Council to express my concerns at the proposal to replace the Buckle Car Park with new (presumed luxury) flats. I also noted that drilling works are set to be carried out there this coming week, although it is not clear whether this relates to the development:
I write to express my concern at the plans to allow the Buckle Car Park in Seaford to be redeveloped as new properties.
This site is a valuable local amenity that provides:
- Free parking in an area that is otherwise largely covered with double yellow lines.
- Toilet facilities for those who use the beach.
- A recycling centre that takes a wider variety of items, e.g. TetraPaks, than are collected from households.
- Overflow parking for those using Bishopstone station. You will be aware that additional parking restrictions were recently introduced in the station approach and a notice inside the station directs those wishing to park to the Buckle Car Park.
The loss of the above facilities would, in my opinion, be greatly detrimental to the local community, so I would urge you to reconsider this decision. I am also concerned about the apparent lack of consultation with members of the local community and seeming lack of transparency in terms of the details of this project. Although you are promoting this as an affordable homes project, I note that in your own publicity you refer to “iconic seafront apartments at The Buckle in Seaford”, which sounds more like luxury flats rather than the affordable homes that are needed in the area. I strongly object to that kind of development, as would be a reward to the lucky property developer at a significant cost to the town, in terms of available facilities & business!
So, I have the following questions for you. In the interests of transparency, I point out that I am asking these questions both in my capacity as a concerned local Seaford resident and as the editor of the site ConsumerLookout.info:
- What efforts have you made to make local residents aware of these plans? E.g. have you taken out adverts in local papers or written to householders to inform them? I have certainly received no such letter.
- What provision have you made for consultancy with local residents? What are the dates of this consultancy period?
- What proposals do you have for providing equivalent alternative facilities to those that will be lost as part of this development? Specifically:
- Where do you suggest those who previously used the Buckle Car Park should now park?
- What alternative toilet facilities will be provided in the immediate vicinity? The nearest facilities other than these as far as I am aware are in the town centre – a mile or more away for those using the Bishopstone/Newhaven end of the beach. You presumably do not intend beachgoers to use the sea as the alternative “distribution point”?!
- Will your recycling team start taking the items, e.g. TetraPaks, in the household collection that were previously only recyclable at the Buckle Car Park? Or is it your intention that householders should include these in the ordinary refuse disposal that is sent to landfill?
- Have bids come in from any developers yet? If so, which ones and what are the details? Is this information presented on your website?
- Will the planning permission given to the property developer awarded the site include obligations under section 106 of the 1990 Town & Country Planning Act to compensate for the loss of local facilities caused by this development? Examples of such compensation might be to require the developer to:
- Install local public conveniences close by to replace those that will be lost?
- Provide equivalent free parking space to the public, e.g. in an underground car park such as underneath the new flats?
- Will you publicise the amount the Council makes from the sale of this land, e.g. on your website, and be transparent about what that money will go towards paying for? (How about putting it towards a desperately needed local minor injuries unit?)