Councillors are being recommended to approve a planning application to turn the former Cannadines Kitchen and Bathroom showrooms in New Town, Uckfield, to four flats.
Uckfield Town Council had objected to the proposal because of concerns over waste collection and parking but a Wealden Council report says the lack of a five-year housing land supply means planning permission must be granted “unless the impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the Framework as a whole”.
The report concludes that the scheme would provide residential accommodation in a “very sustainable location” and says it “would not have an adverse impact on visual or residential amenity, the vitality/viability of the designated secondary shopping area, or the air quality of the Ashdown Forest”.
The planning application has been referred to Wealden’s planning committee, north, by Cllr Helen Firth, (Conservative, Uckfield New Town), because of “unsustainable parking arrangements and potential conflict with Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation on air quality grounds”.
Cllr Firth wants councillors to make the decision rather than allow officers to do so.
The planning application relates to two semi-detached buildings at 37-39 New Town which have been vacant since Cannadines opened new showrooms on the Bellbrook Industrial Estate. The floors above the former showrooms were converted into four flats in 2011.
The latest proposal is to convert the ground floor of both properties to four flats, two at the front and two at the rear. Each would have one bedroom, though two would be laid out as bedsitting rooms.
The shop fronts would be removed and replaced by a domestic arrangement of windows and doors, with similar at the rear. Additional high level windows would be installed at the side to serve bedroom areas of the two bedsitting rooms.
The report to Wealden’s planning committee, north, which meets on Thursday, December 14, acknowledges that refuse storage in the vicinity of the premises is “less than ideal”.
The report says: “It is understood that the first floor flats store refuse bins on an area of unmaintained land at the side of the public house, in the vehicular access which runs alongside the application site.
“However, it is also clear that the bins are probably being used by others, due to the amount of refuse overflowing from them (they are completely open to anyone passing), and that commercial bins are also being stored in the same area. There is also evidence of fly-tipping.”
The report says there is no curtilage associated with the premises and no control over external storage, or any rights to site refuse bins on surrounding land.
“In these circumstances, the agent has confirmed that a managed refuse collection system would be employed, which would also meet the requirements of the building regulations.”