Residents opposed to a planned development at Gullivers Bowling Green have started an online petition in the hope of harnessing local protest against the plans.
A group of Knole Road residents have banded together to fight the controversial proposals and are asking like-minded people to go online and register their support at www.petitions24.com/save_bexhill_green.
It is the third time the locals have faced off with developer Churchill Retirement Living over the plot – with the first two schemes rejected by Rother District Council.
For its part Churchill is confident enough changes have been made to the original plans to warrant approval from the local authority’s planning committee. If the development does get the go-ahead when it is discussed on April it would see Churchill build 39 one and two-bedroomed homes along with communal features and a state-of-the-art bowling facility.
However, those against the plans hope a bumper petition can halve the scheme in its tracks.
A spokesman for the group said of Churchill: “Their plan is to destroy a beautiful garden square that has been there for 120 years.
“One side of the square consists of a building generally considered to be the second most important in Bexhill, a Grade II listed Victorian crescent. Having been rejected twice, it is clear that the council, the planners and the residents of Bexhill do not want this development.
“Churchill’s approach flies in the face of the new localism bill; local people should be consulted on where new shops, offices and homes can be built and which green spaces should be protected.
“The irony is that there is a perfectly good brownfield site nearby, that of the old Grand Hotel, a derelict eyesore for years and ripe for renovation.
“While Churchill has tweaked the proposal, there is no change to the problems it will cause.”
Churchill though maintains there is a “massive” need for private sheltered housing in Bexhill and argues the plans will benefit the local economy.
Andrew Burgess, Churchill’s planning director, recently told the Observer: “We have followed the guidance of the Planning Inspector’s decision of January 2013 which accepted the principle of this scheme and set a blueprint only requiring detailed design changes. We have engaged in pre-application discussions with the council to refine the design and bring forward a high-quality development.”
The application will be heard on Thursday (April 10).