Posted on 28 April 2023
Plans to redevelop the former Adur Civic Centre site in Shoreham are set to be amended to save a poplar tree for the community.
We've been granted permission to build 159 affordable homes on the land, but the scheme would have seen a Grey Poplar tree next to the Duke of Wellington pub, in Brighton Road having to be felled.
As a result, Adur District Council organised a series of meetings to listen to the wishes of the community, who wanted the tree to remain, and then worked with Hyde to come up with new proposals that would ensure the Poplar will be saved.
A variation application will be submitted to Adur’s planning committee by Hyde that will see the shape of the development amended, including less ground floor commercial space and the relocation of eight apartments, so that the Poplar tree can be retained.
The overall number of apartments will remain the same and Hyde remains committed to delivering 100% affordable housing on the site, even though the Local Plan policy requirement is only that a minimum of 30% must be affordable.
Cllr Steve Neocleous, Adur's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: “Our officers spent lots of time talking with protesters to listen to their concerns and I was pleased to have spent some time with them too, as well as the local community as a whole.
“We've taken on board how important this tree is to them and then asked Hyde to go back to the drawing board to find a way to save it.
“And thankfully we've found a way to do that as well as provide much-needed social housing for local people. This brownfield site is perfect for delivering such an important project.
“We remain committed to breathing new life into these sites and ensuring people have modern, environmentally-friendly homes that they are proud to live in - but we’ll always take into consideration the views of the community.”
Steven Morrice, the Group Director of Development and Sales at Hyde, added: “The new development will provide much-needed, highly energy-efficient new homes for local people.
“We intend to seek approval for the changes through a variation to the approved scheme.”
Residents raised concerns about the potential loss of the tree. A petition launched by the Shoreham Poplar Front campaign group to save the tree gained around 3,400 signatures.
Shoreham Poplar Front spokesperson Darcy Harrison said: “We are delighted that Adur District Council and Hyde have responded to our protest and tree-occupation.
“This compromise design saves the Poplar tree from being felled whilst delivering the same number of dwellings on the site. This is a win-win outcome for the housing association, the Council and our local community who will continue to benefit from cleaner air, better drainage and biodiversity on the Brighton Road with this mature tree left standing.
“We hope this serves as a good example to other councils and planning authorities of what can be achieved through positive engagement with tree-saving activist groups.”