Bexhill bakery building owner asks for advice on new use for site

Earl's Bakery in Sidley
Earl's Bakery in Sidley

The new owners of a former Sidley bakery have asked the community to help them decide what to do with the building.

Earl’s Bakery, at 21 Ninfield Road, Sidley, was sold to plumbers Dale Saunders Ltd for £242,000 freehold on July 24.

The former bakery comes with planning permission for residential conversion on the upper floors.

Dale Saunders, the owner of Dale Saunders Ltd, said he is looking to bring the building back to life over the coming weeks by refurbishing the commercial shop premises and redeveloping the upper floors to create homes.

After speaking to a number of residents about plans for the shop premises, Mr Saunders said he decided to post on Facebook asking for feedback from the community.

He said: “As an established Bexhill business that employs over 30 local people we are really keen for this project to add value to the village of Sidley and so we would appreciate some feedback and thoughts from the local community on what they think would be a good use for the building, specifically the shop premises.

“Our intention is to keep everyone updated on the progress of the renovation via regular social media posts, either via ourselves or through the local tradesmen and businesses that will be helping us.”

This week, developers have put forward plans to build flats above the former bakery.

In an application submitted to Rother District Council, developers are seeking planning permission to build a Mansard roof extension on top of 21 Ninfield Road, creating two flats in the new space.

Developers say the scheme aims to set a precedent for building housing on top of the existing shops in the street.

In the application, a spokesman for the developer said: “Our proposal, if successful, will be the first Mansard on this row of shops.

“However, the row of shops lends itself to such development. It is not widely overlooking or overlooked, and there is great advantage to utilising this previously unused space within the development boundary.

“If all other occupants [of Ninfield Road] were to undertake a similar proposal then there could be a total gain of 10 units, each with a two-bedroom property.”

The application also includes plans to convert the ground floor of building – vacant since the closure of Earl’s Bakery in July 2017 – from a café into shop space with a further one-bedroom flat to its rear.

Two more flats (already approved under a previous planning application) will be on the first floor of the building, bringing the total of flats in the building up to five.

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