Rocklands plan unanimously refused by HBC

Council news
Council news

Councillors and campaigners have renewed their calls for a controversial building to be knocked down after it was refused planning permission.

Rocklands Private Caravan Park, in Rocklands Lane, submitted a planning application asking for the retention of a holiday let.

Our countryside and heritage demands the protection of lions that will roar in its defence, not donkeys that bray like some ineffective instrument of appeasement

Councillor John Hodges

The proposals included solar panels on the roof and reducing the size of the balcony. But the scheme was unanimously refused by Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) planning committee on Wednesday (March 4), to the cheer of campaigners who have long blasted the half-built property as an eyesore and a blight on the area around Ecclesbourne Glen.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, more than 460 residents wrote to the council, voicing their objections.

Last June there were shouts of joy and cheers from campaigners of Save Ecclesbourne Glen after the council unanimously threw out Rocklands’ retrospective planning application to make alterations to the controversial building. In that application, Rocklands wanted to make changes to the building’s ground floor, add additional windows and altered window positions, as well as extend the balcony.

In July last year Rocklands’ owners were ordered to stop construction work on the property. The original building itself was granted planning permission in 2012.

At Wednesday’s meeting, ward councillor John Hodges, said: “This application seeks to place a visual abomination in the midst of an unspoilt panorama. A local authority has a statutory duty to have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

“Would you expect to encounter such a monstrosity on the slopes of the Great Gable or Scafell Pike as you gazed in awe across the Lake District? Of course you wouldn’t so what the hell is it doing sitting at the top of Ecclesbourne Glen? Our countryside and heritage demands the protection of lions that will roar in its defence, not donkeys that bray like some ineffective instrument of appeasement. Hastings can boast seven Local Nature Reserves, three Sites of Special Scientific Interest and one European designated site. None of this must ever be threatened by unwanted and unjustified development.”

Cllr Michael Wincott said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the campaigners who have fought so strongly over this, raising awareness through their determination that can’t be faulted. I propose refusal. It’s long overdue. Tear it down.”

Cllr Judy Rogers said: “I hope enforcement action will be taken and the building demolished.”

Cllr Michael Edwards blasted the building, describing it as a ‘monstrosity’. He added: “It’s akin to something that might have been built on the coast of Norway in 1943.” Cllr Phil Scott said the issues surrounding Rocklands had been a ‘regrettable catalogue of events’.