Plans to demolish a town centre church and replace it with flats have met opposition from local residents.
A planning application has been submitted to Rother District Council for a block of 12 apartments on the site of St Andrew’s church in Wickham Avenue.
While some of the Church fascia will be preserved, current plans – unveiled just last week – would see the majority of the building destroyed.
St Andrew’s is located in one of two conservation areas in Bexhill. It is an example of the Edwardian architecture characteristic of the town.
The building, completed in 1900, was designed by architect J.B. Wall who constructed many Bexhill buildings during the town centre’s early development phase.
Plans would include the destruction of the main building, including stained glass windows in the east and west elevations.
Residents argue the move would fundamentally alter the nature of the road, which runs alongside the rejuvenated Egerton Park.
Neighbour Pam Angel said: “The Church is a landmark building on a road linking the town centre and the park. It is in a conservation area so that it will be preserved for future generations and we are prepared to fight to ensure that its integrity is maintained.”
Residents are also concerned that plans to build an enclosed driveway to a car park would increase traffic hazards for pedestrians and drivers. They claim the planned parking provisions are insufficient with just 10 spaces for 12 flats and the loss of an additional two on-street parking spots to make way for the driveway entrance. They claim this could add to parking issues in an area already difficult due to its proximity to the town centre shopping area.
Campaigners have been lodging objections with the council, consulting with external organisations such as English Heritage, and working to raise public awareness.
A petition to gauge local reaction has received overwhelming support, they say.
“We have been thrilled at the level of local interest. The community are uniting behind our call for any development to be carried out in a manner that respects the heritage of this beautiful and historic building – and its neighbours,” Christine Humphries, who has spearheaded the petition, comments.
To submit views on the proposed redevelopment, go to http://www.rother.gov.uk/planning, ref: RR/2014/1309/P