Campaigners speak out over bowls club claims

CAMPAIGNERS have reacted angrily to a developer’s outrage at ‘stalling tactics’ over a plan to develop the site of a bowls club in Bexhill.

In last week’s Bexhill Observer, the chairman and managing director of Churchill Retirement Living, Spencer McCarthy, called on the Supreme Court to reject a challenge against a decision by the Court of Appeal which could allow development at Gullivers Bowls Club in Knole Road to go ahead.

Mr McCarthy claimed the appeal by resident Anne Marie Loader against the club’s plans for 41 retirement flats on the site put the club’s future in jeopardy.

Ms Loader told the Observer: “I am surprised at Mr McCarthy’s emotive remarks and should not really comment whilst the matter is still open to review by the court.

“The fact is the proposal raises points of law which are of general public importance and these need to be resolved.

“It simply cannot be correct that a development such as the one proposed can be considered without properly assessing its significant environmental effects including asbestos, shadowing, flooding and subsidence risks to the Grade II listed building as well as to other properties.

“It would be a great shame if the details many people enjoy about Bexhill-on-Sea, such as much of its fine architecture and design, are eroded and undermined by proposals that simply do not fit in the local landscape.”

Christine Madeley, chairman of Gullivers Action Group, said: “How can he ask the Supreme Court to reject a request to challenge a recent Court of Appeal decision on what has become a matter of public, national interest? His company is not involved in the legal challenges – that is a matter for a resident challenging the Secretary of State over the environmental impacts of all developments. His company’s application was merely the catalyst.

“Planning permission was refused by Rother, granted on the company’s appeal, and subsequently quashed. Therefore there is no planning permission granted on the site.

“The future of the bowls club has been in the balance for at least a decade – long before Churchill Retirement Living became interested.

“It is not a travesty that public money has been spent on a matter of public interest – if it was, permission to bring the matter to court would not have been granted.

“The situation is now no more critical than before. As a registered Community Amateur Sports Club funding should be sought to improve its facilities and open them up to the community. An official audit of the area concluded that there was insufficient open space and recreational facilities for residents of this already heavily flatted locality.”