Masterplan frequently asked questions: updated 16th Jan 2021
Updated: Jan 16
A masterplan has been published for the centre of Peacehaven and we thought it would be helpful to answer some frequently asked questions. These questions are oulined below. If you would like to respond to the consultation survey you can fill it out here.
What is the masterplan?
The masterplan is NOT a planning application. It is a set of ideas for the area which will be used as part of decision making by Lewes District Council who decide on planning applications. Planning applications will come in from developers at a later stage.
Why do we have to have another Co-op and why is the new one smaller?
The Co-op own some of the site and wish to stay. They will decide what they feel is commercially viable and put a planning application forward later. A smaller store reflects changes in retail design. The current store has a lot of wasted space, with wide aisles. A smaller store will remove some of this space but will not necessarily mean that the product range will lessen.
Who owns the site?
A mixture of the Co-op, Peacehaven Town Council, Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council. The Town Council does not have the freehold over any of the existing parking areas.
Why has Community House been removed from its existing location on the masterplan?
This was to keep ideas flexible, there are no firm development plans to relocate Community House at present. The Town Council and the public will be consulted on future planning applications, Community House may stay and be enhanced or be relocated. The masterplan has included an area of community space which could potentially be used as a civic building.
There is a need to improve infrastructure before building more houses, such as more Schools, Doctors/Dentists
The masterplan is a vision document for the area based on evidence and research from local government and central government. The current research shows that the medical facilities in the town are of a size that can serve the local population, the main problem has been recruiting GPS to the area and this would be an issue for the Primary Care Trust to resolve. Likewise, the research shows that there is a decrease in the number of school children age over the plan period and as such there is not a current need for more school places. However, we appreciate that this is based on evidence gathered by other parties and if there is other more up to date evidence that needs to be considered then please include this in your comments. For example, parking at the health centre has been noted as an issue.
The A259 cannot cope and needs improving
With regards to traffic congestion, we fully appreciate that the A259 is a challenge. Therefore, the Neighbourhood Plan is trying to create policies that will help reduce day to day traffic, creating the right centre for Peacehaven will reduce dependency on outside towns to provide goods and services. It is important for us to understand the type of shops and services you think the centre of Peacehaven needs
There is not enough parking in the plan
The levels of parking within the masterplan reflect the aims of the Neighbourhood Plan to reduce reliance of cars for short journeys by creating better cycling and walking routes for local people. A balance must be achieved as more parking also leads to additional traffic congestion and air pollution, sustainable “green” modes such as walking and cycling need to be encouraged.
Shop units are too small
The size of the units was kept small because early resident surveys indicated that residents wanted local crafts and trades in the centre of Peacehaven. To help encourage a range of local independent traders to the area the units were kept small. This is a visionary document, if you feel that a range of local independent traders is not what the local area needs then please provide comments as to what you would prefer and why
Why are there cycle routes across the site
To encourage travel by sustainable modes
What about bus services, taxi’s, car clubs?
Public transport and other modes of transportation are all being considered as part of the Neighbourhood Plan. The aim is to try and become less reliant on the car locally, to help ease the traffic congestion on the A259, improve air quality and our local environment and to do that we need to improve accessibility and make cycling, walking and other forms of transport available and easy to use, such as car clubs, taxi's and hire bikes etc. The masterplan makes a start on this by introducing the idea of better connected walkways, particularly from North to South, and introducing cycle ways across the site that could be used in conjunction with cycle hire schemes and electric bikes.
Where is the library?
The masterplan sets out a range of community and civic spaces. A library could be included as part of the community spaces or form part of a future option for Community House. Please let us know what services you would like to see the Library or Community House provide as this can help inform the size or location of the community space.
Why is housing included on the plan?
The masterplan site is a large site that can accommodate housing as well as retail and other services. Having housing close to shops, medical facilities and schools enables fewer car journeys and will reduce traffic congestion on the A259. It makes sense that this site is used to help provide the towns housing requirements, which are determined by central government, as well as provide other services for the town.
Why build more green spaces when parking is a priority?
Green spaces are needed because the benefits they bring are substantial. Well-designed landscaping and urban green spaces provide places for recreation and leisure, that helps our wellbeing and fitness, improve the climate, reduce air and noise pollution and bring biodiversity encouraging wildlife and native species. Green spaces benefit all ages and local research shows that while we have a lot of green space in the town much is not managed and easily accessible for residents to use.
Why can we not have a shopping centre like Langley Centre in Eastbourne?
Peacehaven cannot host a town centre like Langley Shopping Centre because it provides retail to a population of over 100, 000 people over a ten-mile range and creates around a thousand vehicle trips per day, far more than what could be accommodated on the A259. The Langley centre has many units which are empty, the retail market has changed over recent years with less reliance on visiting brand shops and increased ordering online. High streets and local centres are now focusing on providing spaces for independent retailers, community uses, food & drink.
Does the masterplan meet the vision of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group?
The masterplan is a vision, developed to help us understand how the centre of Peacehaven could be used in the future and to gain residents ideas
Will anything we say make a difference?
YES. Please complete either the paper or on-line survey in addition to commenting on social media so that your views can be counted. Click to complete: A new centre for Peacehaven Survey (surveymonkey.co.uk)
What happens next?
All comments need to be received by 31 January 2021. A summary report will be produced and available in February 2021.
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood Planning is designed to provide a powerful set of tools to help local communities get the right types of development in the right place. Once a Neighbourhood Plan is adopted via a local referendum, the local planning policies contained within, are given weight by the Local Planning Authority when making planning decisions. Neighbourhood Planning allows local communities to develop policies that specifically apply to their area.
The policies the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are currently developing, are for a plan period till 2030, and all the policies are required to be in general conformity with strategic local planning policies set out by Lewes District Council, East Sussex County Council, and the South Downs Nation Park Authority. In addition, the Neighbourhood plan must also have regard to National Policy set out by Government.
To help understand who is responsible for the differing policies the Neighbourhood Plan must take into consideration, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have set out the following table with websites for information.
National Planning Policy Framework
Permitted Development Legislation
Use Classes Order
Policy statements such as, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Environment Design etc.
South Downs National Park Authority
South Downs Local Plan 2014 -2032
Technical Advice Guidance - Dark Skies, Design
East Sussex County Council
Waste and Minerals Plans
Climate Emergency Action Plan
East Sussex Landscape Character Assessment
Local Transport Plan 3 2011-2026
Local cycling and walking Infrastructure plan
Rights of Way
Libraries Strategic Commissioning Strategy 2019-2023
Education School Organisational Plan 2019-2023
East Sussex Health and Social Care Plan 2019
Lewes District Council
Core Strategy 2016 Part 1
Local Development Plan 2020 Part 2
CIL Charging Schedule
Brownfield Land Register/Self-build Register
Strategic Flood Risk Assessments
Coastal Management Plan
Housing Land Assessment/affordable housing
Employment Land Review
Physical Development/Parks/ Leisure/ Outdoor space
Ancient Woodland Surveys
Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2020
Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Masterplan for Centre of Peacehaven
Local Housing site allocations assessment
Local Housing Needs Assessment
Local Design Guides
Local Sustainability Appraisal
How are Neighbourhood Plan Policies developed?
The neighbourhood plan is part of a policy led system that stems from the top level of Central Government to the local levels of the Neighbourhood Plan, with each tier providing more detail. For example, Government sets out targets to improve the environment in the paper “A green future – 25 year plan”. The targets within the government paper are brought forward by Lewes District Council, and Core Policy 8 of the Lewes District Council Core Strategy sets out how Lewes District will promote and improve green spaces across the District. At the local level the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will take Core Policy 8 details one level further, by looking at local green spaces in Peacehaven and Telscombe and designing policies to protect and enhance them for local residents. At each of these levels there is a requirement for Government to inspect the documents and determine that they are in accordance with National Policy.
Why is the Neighbourhood Plan not seeking to provide a new GP surgery or a new school?
East Sussex County Council policies and strategies set out the delivery of the main infrastructure provision for the local area, such as roads, schools and care services. The East Sussex County Council strategy document relating to education “Educational School Organisation Plan 2019-2023 shows that there is no plan for new primary school places to be provided during the plan period. The District does require 450 secondary school places during the plan period, and the first 150 are to be provided at Seahaven Academy. It is likely that existing secondary schools will be expanded via permitted development rights to make up the rest of the shortfall. As such, East Sussex County Council are not intending for new secondary schools to be developed and the Neighbourhood Plan will reflect this in their policies.
Likewise for health; the Infrastrucutre Delivery Plan 2020 sets out that the population in Lewes District is generally in good health and as such “Peacehaven/Telscombe, it is anticipated that additional services could be accommodated by the existing surgeries in the town and at Saltdean”.
The Neighbourhood Plan will therefore be required to bring forward policies that reflect this delivery strategy adopted by Lewes District Council.
Why can’t we have a town centre with lots of shops and a large supermarket?
The Meridian Centre is classified by Lewes District Council as a District Shopping Centre not a town centre as it does not serve a big enough population to have seperate town centre of its own. As such, the Lewes District Policy for District Centres is “District retail centres provide a range of convenience and comparison retail goods, but rely on larger retail centres such as Lewes, Seaford and Brighton to provide a wider range of retail goods and services. The local planning authority will seek to support and retain a predominance of retail units in district retail centres.”
As such Lewes District Council have set out that they will seek to protect the level of existing retail floorspace provided currently by the Meridian Centre but will not necessarily support proposals for additional retail at the Meridian site to accommodate a town centre and would be unlikely to support a larger supermarket than currently exists, as that would attract people from a wider area and impact further on the A259. However, the masterplan survey results will be shown to Lewes District Council with the hope that the views of the local people with regards to types of use and shopping facilities at the Meridian site will be taken on board for any future development.
Why have a masterplan?
From the early stages of the neighbourhood plan concept, it was obvious that the Meridian Site adjoined with the health centre, the leisure centre and industrial business area were an important part of the way Peacehaven would grow in the future. The site has great potential to bring together, retail, leisure, health, employment and housing and increase the vibrancy and aesthetic quality of the area and benefit local residents and businesses.
The masterplan therefore seeks to create a vision on paper that people can comment on and can suggest new ideas about how the town can grow in the future. It is not a planning application, so does not seek to specifically set out floor areas or numbers of car parking spaces but looks to see if the right uses are in the right places. The survey provided, seeks to gain your comments on the uses and potential future for the site. Please remember it is visionary, not set to be developed, but set to gain opinion and help planners in the future understand what is wanted from the local area. Also remember that the masterplan and related neighbourhood planning policies must comply with those policies set out by Local Government and cannot be contrary to them.
This goes for housing too. It is a requirement that Peacehaven and Telscombe must provide a minimum of 255 units of housing by 2030. The Meridian site has the potential to provide a lot of this housing and the site is accessible, well linked, near to retail, health, and leisure sites. There are no other sites within the area that could accommodate such housing growth, and therefore the site must contain some housing. The masterplan provides for four differing levels of housing provision, from a possible three hundred units of housing to just over one hundred units. Your views on types of housing and levels of housing on the site are welcomed.
Future growth and the A259
East Sussex County Council as a highway’s authority are aware that the A259 suffers from congestion, particularly at peak times, but the current levels of congestion are not viewed as severe enough as to outweigh the need for future growth of the area. Any medium or large planning proposals for development will need to agree with the Highways Department (as part of the planning process) measures to lessen the impact of further traffic generation on the A259 through encouraging a modal shift from car to more sustainable transport methods. These negotiations would be beyond the scope of the Neighbourhood Plan, however, the Neighbourhood Plan can seek to help lessen daily use of the A259 by encouraging those who make journeys by car, to walk or cycle when possible. The Neighbourhood Plan will also include policies to promote increasing local employment and local service provision, so that less people will need to commute into Brighton to work or to shop.
Further reading can be found at: Centre of Peacehaven Masterplan Consultation (peacehaventowncouncil.gov.uk) www.peacehaventowncouncil.gov.uk/centre-of-peacehaven-masterplan-consultation