Venue: Meeting Room One. Town Hall
Contact: Committee Officer, 5811
The minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2018 were submitted and approved, and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a correct record.
Apologies for absence
There were none.
Declarations of interests
Declarations of interests by members as required under Section 31 of the Localism Act and of other interests as required by the Code of Conduct and regulation 12(2)(d) of the 2012 Access to Information Regulations.
There were none.
Urgent items of business
The Chair to notify the Scrutiny Committee of any items of urgent business to be added to the agenda.
There were none.
Sovereign Centre Task Group
To receive a presentation from the Head of Commercial Business.
Councillors noted the presentation from Stiles Harold Williams, an independent property real estate advisory business which specialises in many aspects of commercial and residential property. Topics covered in the presentation included:
The advantages of the Sovereign Centre Site:
• Exceptionally rare Seafront Development Site
• Capable of providing the catalyst for wider regeneration within an isolated and currently underutilised backwater
• A ‘blank canvas’
• Prominent Gateway Site
Possibilities of development on the site:
• High quality residential development
• Affordable housing
• Retirement homes / village
• New water sport & Beach front leisure
• Beach huts
• Convenience store sub 5,000 sq. ft
• Supermarket – being mindful of the proximity of Lottbridge Drove
• Theatre/Arts – however due to the newly revamped theatre district of the Devonshire Quarter and Cineworld moving from Sovereign Harbour Retail Park to their new Multiplex in The Beacon unlikely to be suitable
• Commercial - with The Beacon now open and the Town Centre trading well, it would not be viable to cause further competition
• Office - Eastbourne has a good town office market but development in this locality was not likely to be financially viable
Benefits of a residential development on the site:
• Housing supply
• Re-use of Brownfield site
• Public realm enhancement
• Capital receipts and additional council tax income
• Further good news that Eastbourne is expanding
• Catalyst for further investment
Councillors questioned why a hotel development was not recommended by Stiles Harold Williams and were informed that, not only would a 5* hotel have a detrimental effect on existing Eastbourne seafront hotels, but they did not envision a sustainable amount of clientele to warrant a developer being interested in the site.
Whilst Councillors were not satisfied with the suggestion of a Supermarket or convenience store being developed, they were inclined to the idea of a multiuse approach to the site, whereby residential flats would be built on top of a retail establishment and possibly high-end hotel rooms (4*). Possibilities for types of residential housing discussed by the Task Group included:
• Age restricted flats;
• Luxury high rise flats tailored for high earners; and
• Flats tailored for professional sharers.
Councillors felt that due to the unique location of the site, it could warrant unique seafront architecture with regards to both building design and height, and that a good scheme would be a competition for architects to submit designs.
1. That members noted the presentation of Stiles Harold Williams; and
2. That members and officers noted that this was the final meeting of the Scrutiny Sovereign Centre Task Group and that a draft report would be circulated to members in due course for their approval. Following this, the final report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 10 June 2019.