7 January 2015

Residents help shape St Aubyns plans

Rottingdean residents have been helping the council draw up plans to safeguard the future of the former St Aubyns School and adjoining playing fields.

Planning officers from Brighton & Hove City Council have included comments from residents in a planning brief which aims to guide future development of the site.

Situated in the heart of the village, the St Aubyns site is one of the most prominent to become vacant in recent years and any development will shape the village for future generations.

Last year the council worked with Rottingdean Parish Council to produce a draft planning brief to provide guidance on how the site should be developed in the future.

The planning brief aimed to:

  • Make efficient use of the land and bring forward a viable and deliverable scheme
  • Secure the re-use and ongoing maintenance of the listed building
  • Preserve the listed buildings and preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Rottingdean Conservation Area
  • Maximise the use of the existing playing fields for open space and public recreation

Once the draft was approved by the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, the council launched a six week public consultation to give residents, local groups and organisations an opportunity to add their views.

Officers received more than 200 responses from the public and groups including Friends of St Aubyns, the Round Hill Society, Play Area in Rottingdean Committee (PARC); Rottingdean Preservation Society; The Regency Society; Rottingdean Cricket Club and Rottingdean Football Club. Many had attended a drop-in exhibition staged by the council.

Responses were also received from English Heritage, Sport England, Highways Agency and the Conservation Advisory Group

More than 70% of those commenting said they would like to see the building retained for community use, such as a chapel, museum or Art Gallery.

A similar number said they would like to see the adjoining playing field made available for public use.

There were concerns about traffic, access and parking with 31% of all respondents commenting that the existing infrastructure is insufficient to meet the needs of a new residential development.

All the comments have now been incorporated in an updated planning brief which will be considered by the members of the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee on January 15.

Once adopted, the planning brief for the site will be used alongside the existing Local Plan and the emerging City Plan as well as the Rottingdean Neighbourhood Plan (currently being drawn up by Rottingdean Parish Council) as guidance for future planning applications in the village.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the committee, said: “This site is one of the most prominent in Rottingdean and it is important that any future development respects the character of existing buildings and the conservation area, while meeting the needs of the community.

“We were heartened to see so many residents attending the exhibition and taking the opportunity to submit their comments. I look forward to seeing the updated planning brief which will now reflect everyone’s aspirations for this important and high profile site.”

Read the reports for the Economic Development and Culture Committee (the St Aubyns Planning Brief is Agenda item number 59)