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Pevensey Bay Journal
published Saturday 26 January 2019

The development proposal for the Beach Tavern site began two years ago on 10 January 2017

Since January 2017 Pevensey Bay has suffered the slings and arrows of more than a bit of outrageous fortune.

The first proposal was summarily dismissed after a local campaign in the community saw 468 objections to the scheme in a petition.

On 8 May 2017 local resident Martin Beeney said, “it will be the beginning of the end for the village if this building goes ahead”.

Not a single councillor voted in favour of the first proposal for development, with one abstention at the Wealden Council Planning South meeting on 20 July 2017.

Local district councillor, Dianne Dear (who is also the publisher of Bay Life), but was not entitled to vote because she is a sitting councillor for the village, spoke for the community when she pointed out at the beginning of the planning meeting that the proposed development was ‘just too big’. She also gave the view that the applications was based on greed

Fears over the size and scale of the proposed development have been hanging over local people since the first application was made.

John Davey, resident Pevensey Bay for 38 years said (2 May 2017) “my response is unprintable. I can not believe that they don’t get that we don’t want that great big monstrosity there. It is totally out of character for the area and for Pevensey Bay.

“They are just not listening to anybody. The bottom line is that it is all about money and greed, plus who would want to live in a 1950s East German prison type camp build anyway.

“We don’t want them touted as holiday flats because it would be empty for most of the year and it would not do the businesses here any good.

“I am angry in the way that they are just not listening to the concerns of people, as long as they are making money and lining their own pockets, that is their concern.

“They are not worried that people down here will have to put up with that great big white elephant.

The appeal against the decsion was summarily dismissed.

Sheila Holden, the Inspector who wrote the report dismissing the appeal on behalf of the Inspectorate, suggested that the main question was the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area

She explained, “its overall width, depth, mass and bulk would dominate the site and appear out of scale with other nearby buildings. Its angular shape would also be incongruous and incompatible with the surrounding street scene.

She added, ‘in my view when seen in the context of the surrounding development, the building would appear alien and out of place on this prominent and important site in the village”. (Reasons for Decision point 9).

In her conclusion she said, “the Framework also advises that planning decisions should ensure that developments establish a strong sense of place, which will function well and add to the overall quality of an area over the long term.

Since then a second application has been proposed by the developer.

One objector to the new proposal says, “the revised design following a similar application in 2017 is materially the same scheme for 8 flats on a 571m2 site, a construction density of 140 dwellings per hectare (60 per acre). This is an over- development of the site.

“The 3- storey building has been shrunk from the previous application by about 0.5 m in height. Second floor windows still look down from above into the surrounding low rise properties. The bulk of the building is much the same with some softening of the building outline in some places and more development in other areas. The bulk of the building will cast a shadow over the surrounding propertied especially in winter when the sun is low.

“The proprietor of this development was present at the 2017 planning meeting last year that unfavourably commented on the plans before them and has not heeded the overdevelopment and bulk concerns expressed by the planning committee”.

With regard to the proposed underground car park, the objector suggests, “I note this application is for full planning consent and there is no sectional detail show how the building is supported by the underground car-park”.

With the first application there were 22 objections put to Wealden Council. This time around,  the number of objections to Wealden Coucnil is more than double that number.

We now have a standstill.

The second application is no more connected to the community than the first application.

In this second proposal, whilst some aspects of the plan have been altered, we are still seeing a three storey monstrosity that is out of character with the local environment. A huge palm tree has been stuck in place at the front in the public sketch provided.

There appears to be something of an attempt to hide the scale and character of the new proposal slightly, but the elephant is still in the room.

Now is the time for Wealden Council to tell us once and for all whether they agree that this development proposal is patently out of character with the local environment.

Things at the Beach Tavern site two years later are now in a sorry state.

An answer must be found as to what will happen next.

Now is the time for Wealden Council to give their decision.

The proposals and appeals have taken their toll on the community.

The future of the Beach Tavern must be decided. An answer for the pivotal building in our community must be found before the building is reduced to pile of rubble.

Leaving just an eyesore of a half-baked project in the heart of our community is not on any longer.

The time has come to find a sensible solution.