Offices at Bell House in the Bell Walk Shopping Centre could be turned into three homes if plans before Wealden Council are approved.
Suites 1 and 2 are on the first floor of the building with the entrance at ground floor level, next to Claire Davies Hairdressing, in Bell Walk.
The applicants, Sheet Anchor Evolve (London), say in a letter to the council that permitted development rights apply, because of provision in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 which allows for a change of use from offices to residential without the need for planning permission subject to certain conditions being satisfied.
They claim the current use of the suites is as a dance studio but this does not represent the lawful use of the premises, and has not been in place for ten years or more, therefore the lawful use of the premises remains as previously, offices.
The letter goes on to say the proposed development will be ‘car free’ as the site is a “sustainable town centre location with excellent access to public transport facilities”.
It adds that: “Should residents wish to own a car there is a public car park to the north of the application site (80 spaces).”
An area for bike storage has been labelled on the proposed floor plans.
The letter continues: “The site previously generated a traffic impact as offices, and this impact is generally considered to be more intensive than what would result from the three proposed residential units.
“The change in use of the office to residential use will not therefore likely result in a material change to parking requirement, but instead result in a reduction of car parking.
“Consequently, it is considered that the site is sustainably located, is well served by public transport, and is in immediate proximity to shops and services. Therefore the proposed development should not be prevented from coming forward on the basis of highways impact.
The letter says the site is within Flood Zones two – medium probability of flooding – and three – highest probability of flooding – but external hardstanding would not be altered by the proposals and there were no plans to change the existing surface and foul water drainage arrangements at the site.
“As such there is no risk from flooding presented by the proposed change of use.”