New homes in Rottingdean


The site of the former St Aubyns school lies in the heart of Rottingdean. The school closed in 2013 and proposals have now been submitted to re-develop the site for housing. The main school buildng is listed and fronts the High Street. The plans involve converting it for use as flats, leaving the exterior looking much as it does now.

The controversial part of the scheme relates to the former school playing field which lies to the east, just outside the Rottingdean conservation area. There have been calls for the whole of this six acre site to be preserved as open space. The council's planning brief supports this view. However, no one has put forward any financially viable scheme for its continuing maintenance. If it were retained as open space it would probably become unsightly wasteland.

Lindon Homes has proposed a possible solution to this problem, developing a part of the playing field site at the southern end. There would be 10 new private houses and a 62-bed care home. If this was to be granted, the remainder of the playing field would be transfered to the council together with a sum of money sufficient to ensure its mainenance in the future.

At first sight, this looks clever. However, we believe that if it was approved it would represent a significant missed opportunity. Arguably the most serious planning problem facing our city at present is the lack of space for housing. The amount of land identified for new housing in the city plan falls far short of the predicted need.  

For this reason, the Regency Society believes that the whole of the St Aubyns playing field site should be developed for housing, not just part of it. The homes provided should be of varying size and should include a significant amount of affordable housing: there is no affordable housing in the current application. Rottingdean has plenty of open space nearby, including the South Downs National Park and the beach. The St Aubyns playing field was never available for public use so its development will not reduce the amount of public open space in the village.

The best way that this development can make a useful, social contribtuon to our city is not by handing over an area of open space to the council but by providing as many as possible of the new homes that we so desperately need.
 
• You can download our full comments here

 

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