Published on Thursday, 24th July 2014

The long-awaited planning application for the redevelopment of the old nightclubs site on South Parade has been submitted. It seeks permission for a total of 98 retirement flats, 66 of which are to be extra care units.

The design closely resembles the proposal presented to the public a couple of months ago and includes a supermarket – presumably still the Co-op – on the ground floor.

Planning permission was granted back in 2007 for a block of flats on the greater part of the site and the scale of the now proposed building is if anything a little less. Precedents count in planning law and any attempt to push for a smaller building would be overturned on appeal. Personally I think a building of approximately the same height as the neighbouring Royal Beach hotel is not a problem.

The other pre-existing precedent is that of a supermarket on the ground floor, which went through in 2009: at that point, it was Tesco that wanted the space. In some ways a coffee shop or similar use may be better, but given the previous decision and local planning policy – which supports the creation of local supermarkets – my view is that aspect too is inevitable.

The big open question is the design. Many people consider the design to be bland and a waste of a good site. My guess is that the Planning Committee will ultimately refuse the proposal for this reason and it will go to appeal, where anything could happen. It is a difficult trade off: the design is rather generic, but then the site has been an eyesore for years.

The other issue worth mentioning is that of affordable housing. Council policy is that major sites should include 30% housing available for below market rates or available on a part rent, part buy basis. However all local authorities have to include viability rules, which waive this requirement in part or in full if the costs on the developer would be too great. In recent years most applicants for large flat blocks have come forward with reasons why they should not provide 30% and McCarthy and Stone are no exception. They are offering £48 267.

All the planning documents are on the City Council website. Click here or search for application reference 14/00790/FUL. The most readable document is the Design and Access statement. You can submit comments on the webpage or by mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Finally just to declare my interest – I live in a neighbouring building and can take no active involvement in the determination of this application.

Tags : Planning, Seafront