A Norman’s Bay resident is stunned that Rother District Council’s planning committee agreed to allow a disused beach workshop to be turned into a home.
Nigel Jacklin, who has lived in Norman’s Bay since 1992, claims this permission for change of use at Heron’s View is “unprecedented.”
He believes the brick building, 120 years old, is part of the area’s heritage and says it also has one of the few remaining saw pits left in Sussex.
He was shocked by new owners of Heron’s View being given permission to live inside it - and wants “normal” people engaged in work there as before.
He said: “We are disgusted that the proper procedures don’t seem to have been followed. It’s a shame. When we moved there, a man was running the workshop, and a fisherman with his boat, a nice working village. People don’t understand we liked it with normal working people there - they want it to be tidied up, that’s what gets me going.”
A Rother District Council spokesman said: “This application was referred to planning committee by a councillor for consideration and members of the committee voted to approve the application after considering all the facts, hearing the views of residents and visiting the site.
“All proper procedures in this matter were followed, which included a detailed report for planning committee, with the decision being taken by elected members.”
Planning permission was granted against the recommendation of officers but this is “not unusual” according to chairman of the planning committee Cllr Brian Kentfield.
He said that members consider basic facts, conditions and policy presented to them by officers and occasionally consider it “not appropriate” to follow the recommendation laid out in the planning agenda, having examined the location and circumstances of the area.
“No personal circumstances are taken into consideration whatsoever,” he told the Observer this week.
“It’s just one of those things. Perhaps in this instance they thought it would be okay to go down that path, and that’s where they went.”
The application was called in by Cllr Stuart Earl who thought the matter best dealt with by committee members going along to look at the property and immediate area and then voting on their findings - “I think of it as democracy,” he said.