Decision due on planned new leisure centre and housing for Bexhill

Indicative site layout
Indicative site layout

Proposals to build a major new housing development and leisure centre in Bexhill are set to go before Rother planners next week. 

On Tuesday (December 17), Rother District Council’s planning committee is to consider an outline application for the development of the former Bexhill High School site in Downs Road.

2/10/14- The old Bexhill High School site. SUS-140210-133058001

2/10/14- The old Bexhill High School site. SUS-140210-133058001

The outline proposals, which have been put forward by the council itself, include plans to demolish and replace Bexhill Leisure Centre with a larger, more modern facility, as well as to build 52 new homes on the northern part of the site. 

While the final details are not expected to come forward until the reserved matters stage, the new leisure centre is expected to include a swimming pool, sports hall and gym.

The scheme was also initially set to include a 70-bedroom hotel, but this part of the proposals was abandoned after the historic Drill Hall was removed from the site. 

This was removed as the council had been in the process of negotiating the sale of the building from the Ministry of Defence when the application was first submitted, but no agreement was reached.

Bexhill Leisure Centre SUS-150929-130002001

Bexhill Leisure Centre SUS-150929-130002001

The original scheme would have seen the Drill Hall demolished and the hotel built in its place. This had proven to be controversial with residents, however, with 30 of the 58 objections raised against the scheme, raising concerns about the loss of the building.

Bexhill Heritage had also raised concerns about this part of the proposal and had campaigned against the demolition of the 1914-built building.

According to council planners, the remaining 28 objections raise concerns about bringing extra housing to the area as well as the impact of development on flooding and traffic.

Concerns have also been raised over the impact of construction on neigbouring properties.

However, the proposals have also seen 12 letters of support from local residents, with many writing in favour of bringing a swimming pool to this part of town. 

If approved the scheme is also likely to need an additional road safety audit, with any issues raised requiring works be completed as part of a Grampian-style condition (meaning the roadworks would need to be carried out before the rest of the development could begin).

As the proposals stand, the scheme would be accessed via a new mini-roundabout on Downs Road.

A legal agreement to provide affordable housing as part of the development is also expected to form part of the terms of the final scheme.

For further details see application reference RR/2019/430/P on the Rother District Council website.