Bexhill bowls club battle moves to Court of Appeal

An artist's impression of the plans for Gullivers Bowling Green
An artist's impression of the plans for Gullivers Bowling Green
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A woman who has fought for years to block plans to redevelop a bowls club was back at London’s Court of Appeal this week.

Anne-Marie Loader was appealing a high court ruling from last year which saw a top judge uphold Rother District Council’s decision last November to finally grant planning permission for the redevelopment of Gullivers Bowls Club, Knole Road, Bexhill.

The hearing was held on Wednesday in front of three top judges, with Ms Loader’s lawyer arguing the High Court decision in June, 2015, was wrong.

However, the judgement has been reserved until a later date which has not yet been announced.

Last June, Ms Loader said, in granting permission, the district council failed to consult English Heritage and the Victorian Society on the impact the development would have on the surrounding area, which includes De La Warr Parade, a Grade-II listed terrace of houses.

She also said Rother District Council failed to properly understand the National Planning Policy Framework and did not take into account the designation of the bowling club as an ‘asset of community value’.

But the judge found in her favour only in respect of English Heritage, exercising her discretion not to quash the planning permission on the basis it would have made no difference to the council’s decision to give the plans the go-ahead.

In her ruling last year, Mrs Justice Patterson said the site has a ‘considerable planning history’, with permission for such a development first refused in 2003.

A later government-granted planning permission was quashed by consent at the High Court in 2009.

And earlier proceedings brought by campaigner Ms Loader went to the High Court in 2011 and the Court of Appeal a year later.

Rother District Council finally granted permission to the scheme in November, 2014.

The latest proposals involve demolition of the existing bowls club buildings.

They would be replaced with a new clubhouse or pavilion and an indoor rink.

The scheme would also include replacement of two outdoor greens with one new green and the development of 39 sheltered apartments.

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