New family home on outskirts of Hastings approved

Controversial proposals for a large family home have been given the go ahead by Hastings planners.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 2:33 pm

On Wednesday (April 28), Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee approved proposals to build a two-storey, four-bedroom home on land adjacent to a property known as Lidham Farm in Rye Road.

The proposal was a resubmission of a previously-approved, but expired, application, with most details of the scheme the same as before. There were some minor alterations to its design (a window was moved and an extra door added).

While recommended for approval, the scheme had seen some significant objection from neighbouring residents, who argued the building would have a major impact on their quality of life.

Before making its decision, the committee heard from Jake Bowers, one of the neighbours objecting to the scheme. He said: “We fundamentally oppose the granting of full planning permission to this development and we ask you to reject the recommendation.”

He added: “As councillors you have the power to blight or bless homeowners and we appeal to you to reject this application. This development will have a huge impact on the amenity of our property, it will overlook our property and it will destroy our privacy.

“Hastings Borough Council has not listened to or incorporated any of our concerns into the officers’ report. They have failed in their duty to balance the needs of their constituents.”

He continued: “It is infill development which will destroy the semi-rural nature of the area as it blends into rural Rother. You do not have to build up to a boundary. That is not what a council should be doing and that is not what planning officers should be recommending.”

Mr Bowers said his ‘most fundamental’ concern was over drainage, due the applicant’s plans to install a septic tank instead of hooking up the property to the mains sewer.

While councillors also had some concerns around this plan, planning officers advised it would be acceptable if granted a permit by the Environment Agency. If not granted a permit, conditions would require the applicant to link to the main sewer instead.

Mr Bowers also felt that issues he and his family had raised were not included in the officers’ consideration of the scheme.

Officers took a different view, however, arguing that the scheme would not have a “significant detrimental effect” on neighbours. 

Despite some concerns from councillors, the committee as a whole did not consider that there were sufficient grounds to refuse the scheme.

Cllr Matthew Beaver (Con) said: “I’ve listened to the debate and the argument from both sides and I certainly understand Mr Bowers’ concerns regarding a number of issues. 

“The challenge I have with it though is that from the report we have in front of us environmental health has no objections from them. The ecology officer; there is no objections from them. Southern Water; there are no objections from them. And the flooding agency, there are no objections from them either.

“What I would consider perhaps the four main people who would object or not object to it have offered no objections to it themselves.”

Similar views were put forward by Ore councillor Heather Bishop (Lab).

She said: “The application has been granted permission before. Under planning law I don’t think there is actually anything that would stand up against the planning inspectorate should that be pulled up. 

“I am worried about the septic tank. I would far, far rather it go to mains drainage and the combined sewer around there and I really hope that the planning team, who have had in-depth discussions apparently with the applicant, can actually sort out a system that is going to work.”

Following further discussion, the scheme was approved seven votes to one. 

For further details on the application see reference HS-FA-20-00132 on the Hastings Borough Council website.