Permission not granted for unpopular rack

A view of the storage rack from Barbara Thomassen's garden
A view of the storage rack from Barbara Thomassen's garden

A belated planning application for an unpopular 18-foot metal rack in a builder’s yard has been rejected by Rother District Council.

The timber storage rack was put up by Parker Building Supplies (PBS) at Bellbrook Business Park without permission and attracted criticism from neighbours who complained that it loomed large over their gardens, one resident said it felt like they were “prison bars”.

Planning officials from the district council told the company that rack was not a “permitted development” and asked them to remove it. The company wanted to keep the rack and said it and would apply for retrospective planning permission.

On Thursday January 15 the district council’s planning committee considered the company’s retrospective planning application which suggested keeping the rack but reducing it by 1.4m. The application was refused.

Cllr Brian Kentfield, chairman of the planning committee, said: “The committee had visited the site and felt that this structure, which was erected without planning permission, had an overbearing and oppressive effect on neighbouring properties.

“While we did appreciate the fact that the business concerned had made some significant changes to its original application, we felt that these were not sufficient to make this development acceptable.”

Prior to last week’s meeting planning officers had also considered the application and recommended it should be rejected. Their report stated: “While the need to operate the site in a safe manner is appreciated, this does not over-ride the significant harm that would be caused to residential amenity and the character and appearance of the area by allowing the structure to remain in this location, even in its amended form.

Phil White, the operations manager for Parker Building Supplies, said: “We are waiting for official response following the council meeting and we will consider our options.”