Controversial proposals to extend an amusement park on Hastings seafront have been deferred for a second time after it emerged the application form had been filled out incorrectly.
Hastings Borough Council agreed to defer the plans – for a range of works at the Stade Family Amusement Park – for a second time at a meeting on Wednesday (October 10).
The proposed works include adding an extra floor to the main park building, creating a new boathouse and extending the park’s boundaries by reducing the width of a footpath between the A259 and the beach.
Once the item was called, the council’s planning service manager Eleanor Evans asked committee members to defer.
She said: “The application is requested to be deferred because the application form has not been filled in correctly by the applicant.
“We need to make sure this is a valid application, so we need to go back to the applicant and get them to refill in the form and carry out the requisite publicity.
“We are requesting that the item is deferred until the next available committee after the publicity period has expired.”
The committee agreed to defer consideration of the item, which was recommended for approval by officers.
Committee members had previously deferred the application due to concerns its description did not make it clear to a casual reader that replacing the footpath would extend the park’s boundaries.
This could have left the council’s decision open to a judicial review, councillors were told.
According to an officers’ report, planners received more than 18 objections to the application prior to the deferral. This included two petitions, one of which is considered to be invalid, the report says.
Planners received an additional eight letters of objection following the decision to defer, bringing the total number of objections to 26.
An officer’s report said many of the initial objections related to the new footpath being gated at both ends and closed off to the public.
The report said this would not be the case and that access would remain ‘unobstructed’. However the report also acknowledged that the footpath had not been formally adopted as a public right of way by East Sussex County Council.
Prior to the meeting Sue Beaney (Lab. – Braybrooke) wrote to planners asking the committee to consider adding a condition which would require the developer to keep the footpath open to the public.
She said: “I am very aware of the concerns about this development. From my personal perspective the designs look as though they will enhance the attractiveness of the area, both as a tourist business and as a visual amenity.
“I take the point that the proposed path will be substantially narrower and more winding, but it will actually arrive at a point of easier access to the beach than at present.
“However the right of the public to access the area and walk through it must be maintained. I would ask that if possible a condition be added that the walk through should be accessible at all times ie that there should be no gate that would prevent this.”