Gulliver’s troubles

Opponents of the proposed redevelopment of Gullivers bowling club in Knole Road were ready for battle again in front of Rother District Council’s planning committee.

Churchill Retirement Living was twice refused permission to demolish the club and build homes for the elderly but hoped it would be lucky with this its third application.

On Thursday Churchill put forward its amended plan and asked to build 39 private sheltered apartments with associated communal facilities, access, car parking and landscaping, and new bowling rink and club facilities.

Some 28 letters of opposition were received by the council with residents for instance saying that Bexhill did not need any more new flats especially for the elderly, the provision of which would fail to benefit the town centre economy, and raising the question of flooding which, they said, the development would only exacerbate.

They also highlighted the council’s decision last summer to protect Gullivers Bowls Club by designating it an Asset of Community Value .

Objections have been made by longtime campaigner Christine Madeley who criticised the bowls club itself for backing Churchill’s plan to build “39 unwanted, unnecessary flats on the most attractive oasis of land in an otherwise over-developed concrete jungle which is East Bexhill.” And Dru Tramaseur noted that the developer described as a mere “side show” Gulliver’s new status as an Asset of Community Value, but hoped the council would treat this as “a material consideration” for unanimous refusal of planning permission for the site.

Rother’s planning officer noted that Churchill has addressed certain previous criticisms, such as design of the sheltered apartments within the setting of a listed terrace and the wider area, and saw the provision of the new club as a matter of public benefit, concluding: “The scheme is judged to relate satisfactorily with neighbouring properties.”