Town Centre Expansion Set for Green Light
Following eight weeks of consultation, Eastbourne Borough Council has given Cabinet approval to create a Town Centre Regeneration area...
...which could attract a multi-million pound sub-regional shopping development complete with leisure, housing and a public transport interchange.
A Planning Brief defining the regeneration area has still to receive approval at Full Council on 23 February, however if adopted, Council officers will be given the green light to work with private sector developers towards a Development Agreement.
Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, Councillor Graham Marsden said “Eastbourne Borough Council is making it a priority to regenerate the town centre for Eastbourne’s future prosperity and help to create a more vibrant place to work and live. The current provision clearly does not meet the needs of our residents and visitors, and with an increasing number shopping elsewhere, we simply cannot sit back and do nothing.”
Providing key guidelines and direction for the development, the Planning Brief once adopted ensures that any proposed private sector schemes meet the criteria set out by the Council from the outset, ensuring the best scheme for Eastbourne.
The decision follows eight weeks of public consultation on the brief, which included a touring exhibition around Eastbourne, public meetings and leaflets distributed across the town. The consultation resulted in 285 individual representations, submitting almost 900 comments, all of which have been discussed by Councillors and staff, and where appropriate incorporated into the final Planning Brief.
Results from the consultation were very positive with 57% of the individuals indicating support for the proposals, and only 4˝% of individuals raising outright objection. The remainder of the comments raised general concerns or sought clarification on how the changes would take place or affect them.
Of the main issues raised, transport and the need to improve road infrastructure and parking was a key concern, followed by the need for new retailers within the development, with specific retailers nominated as being particularly desirable.
As a result of the responses, several changes have been made to the Planning Brief including the requirement to assess community needs within the town centre, with many community organisations requesting a centrally located shared facility and provision for a nursery.
Further additions include the need to integrate the historic fabric of the town centre to ensure the design fits well with the local architecture. Consideration is also being given to registering car parks with the safer parking scheme and making appropriate provision for people with mobility difficulties.
Employment is also a key issue and the brief seeks to use the local workforce at construction stage. This work is already beginning through partnerships with educational establishments to create appropriately skilled workforce locally, and once the development is completed there will also be a significant number of permanent jobs created.
Copies of the final brief are available on www.eastbourne.gov.uk/towncentreregeneration or can be viewed at the Town Hall.
22 February, 2005
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