New homes approved at garage sites in Shoreham and Southwick

Councillors gave the green light for three separate developments across Adur which will see garages replaced with homes.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 1:04 pm

During a meeting of Adur District Council’s planning committee on Monday (September 6), members discussed three applications to build on the ‘hidden homes sites’.

ADC will now build new homes at St Giles Close and Wilmot Road in Shoreham-by-Sea and Gardner Road, Southwick.

During the same meeting, the Adur local plan was discussed and council officers said it was ‘vital’ to seek out new sites for housing.

The garages in St Giles Close, Shoreham, proposed to be demolished to make way for new homes

They said: “It’s absolutely vital that we undertake a rigorous assessment of all viable housing opportunities.”

This is because ADC has under delivered on housing targets for the last three years and new government targets require the local authority to deliver 248 homes per annum – it currently delivers around 177 a year.

But Jeremy Gardner (Lab, St Mary’s) expressed concerns about overlooking standards at the sites in question, most of which are surrounded by existing housing.

He said: “The council has agreed planning guidance on the distance between houses, to avoid overlooking. The minimum should be 22 metres.  

“Here, the proposal was to not follow the council’s own guidance. The proposed houses would be closer to existing homes. The ‘solution’ proposed was to put opaque glass in the bedroom windows. An upper section would be clear.

“We need more homes in Adur today, but we are also building for the future.

“We need more homes of good design and in the right places. And they should be good to live in, without obscured glass in the bedroom windows.

“If the council agrees guidance, it should follow it.”

Officers confirmed that the new homes would be used to accommodate those on Adur’s housing register and Stephen Chipp (Con, Southwick Green) said this should take priority.

He said: “Officers have worked tirelessly to find the sites for housing we discussed.

“I know the area and I’ve seen all of these sites. I don’t think they’ve tried to overly cram it.

“There are some definite issues there in terms of the distances but I don’t think it would stand up at appeal.”

In response to comments about window glazing and overlooking standards, Mr Chipp said: “We could decrease the footprint of the dwelling but I’d much rather give people space to live in and have a practical solution for it.”

Paul Mansfield (Con, Cokeham) seconded this, saying: “I like the development – the council has taken great thought over it.

“OK it’s slightly less than the [overlooking] recommendation but I think they have taken that into consideration.”

Council officers added that it may not be possible to follow overlooking standards rigorously in order to deliver enough housing to meet the district’s targets.

They said: “There has been a lot of dialogue with residents on this and far less representation [objections and comments] than we expected.”

Another issue discussed at the meeting included the potential loss of boundary walls due to demolition of the garages. One resident had also written to the council about this and Tania Edwards (Con, Southlands) said this could result in a ‘loss of privacy and security’.

Officers said that, while they could not guarantee that brick walls would be replaced like for like, solutions could be discussed with individual residents.

Parking was also discussed with concerns from Carol O’Neal (Lab, Eastbrook) that cars would be displaced on to surrounding residential roads.

She said: “I have to say parking in Gardner Road is a nightmare so if you are reducing any capacity it would be a concern to me.

“If that car park that runs between Gardner Road and St Aubyn’s Road was suddenly taken out of the equation I think that would really impact upon the neighbourhood.”

Officers said the use of this council owned land is a ‘future question’ and any change in use would be subject to a planning application. In addition, they previously stated that a small minority of the existing garages are used for parking.

More details about the three applications can be found at the Adur planning portal using references: AWDM/1272/21 (St Giles Close), AWDM/1434/21 (Wilmot Road), or AWDM/1247/21 (Gardner Road)