Bid for even bigger building is rejected

17 Old Fort Road
17 Old Fort Road

PLANS to knock down a dilapidated bungalow to build a four-bedroom house have failed again.

The building, at 17 Old Fort Road, Shoreham Beach, has been subject to a string of planning applications, the last of which was refused in August. This time, plans were for a bigger house than proposed in the last failed bid. Shoreham Beach councillor Liza McKinney said she was utterly amazed that the applicant had put in virtually the same building, only bigger and with a roof terrace.

“It ends up being virtually a three-storey building, larger, more overpowering and more intrusive,” she said, adding that the lack of ‘any privacy whatsoever’ or ‘a decent living environment’ appalled her.

“Meadway is a street where working families live. They can’t afford bolt-holes in Old Fort Road, or large mansions or city-slickers’ weekend retreats. These local families are paying into our local economy and their living environment should be as good as the next person’s,” she said.

“This kind of building should be stopped and stopped completely. It’s so clearly environmentally awful. Would any of you like to live in a goldfish bowl?

Mrs McKinney added that the bid showed ‘little respect’ the committee by assuming councillors would not notice the house was ‘virtually the same, only larger’.

Ten objection letters from residents demonstrated the strength of feeling.

Neighbour Lintorn Wightman said the proposal was unacceptable.

“I can see no difference other than he’s added a roof garden, increasing the intrusion on other people,” he said.

The Meadway resident Maggie Taylor said she objected ‘most strongly’ to the design as it would reduce light to her property, and compromise her privacy.

Councillor Carol Albury agreed with objectors, saying it was amazing the plans had come back to the committee but on a larger scale.

“It’s completely overbearing and it will be completely detrimental to the living areas around it,” she said. “This would be far too big an area to develop and would take away any privacy from the surrounding area.”

Councillor Mike Mendoza said he had no objection to the design as designs had ‘gone quite wacky over the years’, but said he was quite amazed the applicant had ‘not bothered to turn up’ to the meeting, describing his failure to attend as ‘quite poor form’.

Committee members agreed with case officer Peter Barnett’s recommendations and voted unanimously to reject Pursuit Properties’ planning application.

Shoreham Beach Residents Association chairman Joss Loader said SBRA was not opposed to development on the beach in principle, but would like it to be in keeping with the area, and sympathetic to the needs of existing residents.

“We are working with the Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Planning Forum to draw up a planning blueprint - hopefully giving local people a greater say in how Marine ward evolves in the next 15 years,” she said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that both planners and some architects and developers are now starting to listen to what local people want but there is still a lot of work to be done.”