Butlin’s answers residents’ fears over staff house plan

Visual by Randell Design Group of how Ashley House could look
Visual by Randell Design Group of how Ashley House could look

A Butlin’s boss has come forward in an attempt to allay fears over its plans to turn an Aldwick care home into accommodation for 70 staff.

Jeremy Pardey, resort director, said: “I apologise for not getting the message out there more, in hindsight we could have done more.”

The planning application for Ashley House, which will go before the development control committee on August 10, has caused concern.

Deborah Martin, a member of Aldwick neighbourhood action group, said: “We know there is a travel plan and a noise plan but we feel it is going to disrupt the quality of life in the area and we fear if it gets the go ahead it will happen more and more.

“We wanted to take action before it sets a precedent.”

She added there have been ‘165 letters of opposition’, something she called ‘a big number for a relatively small development’.

Mr Pardey insisted ‘we are not creating a hostel’ and instead described the ‘key aim’ to be making a ‘home’ for ‘crucial team members’.

He hopes this will ‘allow them to spend time away from what we call the ‘Butlin’s bubble’ and have a chance to be ‘part of the community’.

The action group’s core objection is that 70 people is too many.

Ms Martin said: “They aren’t expanding the floor plan, they are just doubling the number of beds.

“They have their priorities wrong, you need fewer people and senior management to control what goes on.”

Mr Padley said: “It’ll be as secure as it can be, there will be 24-hour surveillance like at the resort and a landlord living on site whose job isn’t to police but to make sure they have what they need.

Another concern is parking, and while the plans outline measures to provide that at the resort with bicycles or hybrid minibuses to take workers to and fro, the group is not convinced.

“It is not realistic, it is not enforceable.

“They can’t stop them having cars and parking them in the streets and they can’t stop them having conversations when they get back at all hours.”

Mr Pardey insisted ‘there are no late night workers’ and that 10pm would be ‘the latest’ shift for those at Ashley House.

He added: “We have done that purposefully to limit the impact on the local community.”