Our borough deserves better

THE big new shed on the lower promenade at Warrior Square (Letters, May 9) is to be a fish and chips kiosk.

Maybe that’s a good idea, but this application is unsatisfactory for many reasons.

Planning permission was given for this shed under ‘delegated powers’ following a tiny notice in the Observer of December 27. Why was it so treated? Why didn’t the issue go to Planning Committee?

Nowhere is the bulk of this shed considered, or the damage it does to our views. How does it comply with the council’s Objective 7 on the seafront and tourism?

The application (in its heritage statement) denies that the site forms ‘part of the setting of a building of local visual or historic interest outside the site boundary’. But the site is in the Warrior Square Conservation Area, described by the council as ‘one of the most important features of urban form along the seafront’.

The Historic Asset Statement says wrongly: ‘As it will be sited on the Lower Promenade, any view [sic] from Warrior Square will be minimal, with only a small part of the roof visible and we feel that this will not be detrimental to the Conservation Area’. (The intended wording was probably ‘any impact on the view’, but residents and visitors seeing this roof will have their view of the sea blocked, and that is not minimal). Southward traffic leaving Warrior Square will no longer face the sea but an obstruction.

This Heritage Asset Statement is unsigned and undated, and on unheaded stationery. Who are the ‘we’ saying that ‘this will not be detrimental’?

Some of Sidney Little’s promenade was demolished to make room for the development. The application does not mention the requirements of assessment and consent.

Why is the council’s resort services manager described here as a ‘customer?’ And why does he ‘believe the creation of additional facilities for visitors will add to the increasing activitity and local regeneration to this part of St Leonards’? And that ‘the design seems in keeping with other seafront buildings?’

This is not regeneration, and there are already many excellent catering businesses nearby. Nor is the shed in keeping with its surroundings.

Plumbing details are scant, and wider problems – grease traps, smells, rubbish, gulls, and other downsides – are hardly discussed.

Our borough deserves better than this.

BERNARD MCGINLEY

Magdalen Road

St Leonards