Gulliver plan needs tweak

Gullivers bowling club, Bexhill. ENGSUS00120130131102418
Gullivers bowling club, Bexhill. ENGSUS00120130131102418

Controversial plans to redevelop Gullivers bowling club in Knole Road were stalled when Churchill Retirement Living’s application was dropped from Rother District Council’s planning committee agenda last Thursday.

This was decided following discussion between conservation and planning officers who concluded that the application did not meet all criteria outlined by the Inspector during Churchill’s appeal against the planners’ previous decision to refuse permission.

The intention is to create 39 one and two-bedroomed homes with communal features and a state-of-the-art bowling facility - the amended application will now be heard on Thursday May 22.

Resident Anna Selby believes it is the company’s aim “to destroy a beautiful Victorian garden square that has been there for 120 years.”

She commented: “Having been rejected twice, you would have imagined that Churchill would have got the message that the council, the planners and the residents don’t want this development.”

Previous hearings and appeals had cost thousands of pounds, she claimed, adding: “I’m sure most Bexhill residents could think of better things to spend this money on.

However Churchill’s Andrew Burgess is “content” with the company’s revamped and revised plan which will have “this last tweak” of wider gaps between the buildings as specified by the Inspector.

He said: “We can achieve this. We are making these changes. These are not substantial, just detail of design points, that is all.”

Last summer longterm campaigner Anne Marie Loader was successful in her application for Gullivers bowling club to be listed as an asset of community value. This was approved by Rother District Council but Churchill’s appealed against that decision on Friday and must now wait a month for the judge’s ruling.

Mr Burgess said the company didn’t “have a problem” with Gullivers being listed as long as the part it wants to build on is not included.

Geoff Howard of Knole Road Flat Owners said the group would be ready to “actively” oppose the planning application in May.