Plans for a new Aldi supermarket in Eastbourne alongside care facilities and apartments have been given the go ahead.

On Monday (August 21), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee approved three applications seeking to develop Site 7a in Sovereign Harbour — a strip of land between Pacific Drive and Pevensey Bay Road.

Between them, the three applications had been seeking permission to build a 66-bed care home, a building containing 57 retirement-living apartments and a new Aldi supermarket on the land.

All three schemes — and particularly the Aldi proposals — had proven to be controversial among local residents, with more than 700 objections submitted across the separate applications.

Objectors were particularly concerned about the potential highway impact, arguing the development would increase traffic and create an unacceptable level of congestion. To counteract this, objectors argued for all three sites to be accessed via Pevensey Bay Road, rather than Pacific Drive.

However, this concern was not shared by East Sussex Highways, which has not raised any objections to the proposals and deemed the proposed access arrangements to be suitable.

Iain Shore of the Sovereign Harbour Residents’ Association. Speaking on the Aldi scheme, he said: “It is clear that East Sussex County Council Highways Department (ESCC) … have only conducted a desk study on this issue, which is totally inadequate in this case, particularly where car parking is currently permissible on both sides of Pacific Drive.”

This view was supported by some committee members, who argued there may be room for negotiation on an alternative access with the developer.

Cllr Jane Lamb (Con) proposing a deferral of the Aldi scheme on these grounds, saying: “There is a convenient roundabout very nearby. We are not allowed to discuss that at this meeting, I realise that, but it doesn’t seem, to me, unfeasible that there could be an alternative way of accessing this supermarket.”

However, Leigh Palmer, the council’s head of planning, said he would not be able to accept a direction to negotiate for an alternative access, as the proposal had been deemed ‘appropriate and safe’ by East Sussex Highways.

Other committee members had limited sympathy for the highways concerns raised by objectors.

Cllr Candy Vaughn (Lib Dem) (who went on to recommend the Aldi scheme be approved) said: “That road is wide enough to take two buses. If it can take two buses going past each other, how can that be too small? It’s not.”

Ultimately, this view was shared by the majority of the committee, which voted in favour of all three schemes.

In making its decisions, the committee approved the schemes in principle by granting officers delegated authority to grant planning permission once outstanding details were resolved and legal agreements secured.

Objectors had taken issue with this approach ahead of the meeting, arguing a delegated resolution was not democratic as details of the final scheme would not be decided by councillors.

Officers disputed this view, saying the committee would be making the in-principle decision.

There was also some discussion about the land having been allocated for employment use in local planning policy. As a mix of retail and residential the proposed schemes did not fit with this allocation.

But officers noted that no alternative proposals had ever come forward.