Granary application incorrect

Decorated cast iron columns and massive joists on the ground floor

Following on from the disclosure that 48 Ferry Road (The Granary) by the level crossing has a splendid cast iron structure, I have been trying to get Rother District Council (RDC) to do something about it with particular reference to the application being incorrect in stating that the structure was timber.

The following is part of my letter sent to the RDC Planning Department on February 10:

“The main issue here is the splendid Victorian cast iron structure of the building and the fact that that the application drawings were incorrect in indicating a timber structure throughout the building.

“Had the application correctly stated that the original structure was cast iron then I, and I am sure many of the other commentators including the Conservation Society, representing over 250 local residents, would have made retention of the historic structure a major point in our comments online.

“The fact that comments from the Conservation Society and others, including myself, appear to have led to major changes to the proposed elevations and the retention of existing openings in their original form, proves the degree of interest in this landmark building which resulted in a significant improvement in the appearance of the proposed conversion.

“Comments were made at the same time, by the Conservation Society and myself, re the fact that the proposed layout of the ground floor parking conflicted with the indicated ‘timber columns’ which led to a number of revisions eventually resulting in the omission of the columns on the final submitted drawings.

“I, and I think the Conservation Society, presumed that as the structure was shown as timber that the ground floor structure would need to, and could be, dramatically altered. Fine, except for the fact that the structure is in fact a splendid example of Victorian cast iron industrial architecture unmatched by any other buildings in Rye and worthy of retention in its original form.

“The issue here really is this, is the submission of incorrect major information on a planning application grounds to consider that, whilst the application may not have been refused, negotiations should have taken place to rationalise the ground floor layout in order to preserve the cast iron structure, a piece Rye’s industrial heritage, and that conditions would have been put on the approval to ensure that the cast iron structure was retained in its original form.

“Rationalisation of the ground floor layout might also allow the car park access to be in the position of the original cart entrance rather than through a new structural opening.

“In view of the above should Rother not then be required, now it is known that the application was in fact incorrect in major details of the building, be responsible for resolving this error to ensure that the fabric is retained in its original form.”

To date, despite a follow-up email, there has been no reply from Rother planners.

[Editor’s note: One would have thought that one or both of Rye’s representatives on Rother District Council would have taken this up, but it seems not.]

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .


  1. Thank goodness there are people in Rye (like Mike) sufficiently knowledgeable to check out planning applications and alert the planners to incorrect and misleading drawings.
    The Granary is obviously an important example of Rye’s industrial/ agricultural heritage and an excellent example of economical construction. The cast iron and timber structure must be retained and kept visible for future generations.

  2. Without doubt, planners & council officers should quickly correct any errors in planning applications, especially where fundamental heritage fabrication is at risk of being lost, dismissed or misused.
    If not corrected then the application should be thrown out!
    It is worrying to think that such an error in the application about the building construction could be made – given the building’s age, physical appearance & original use.
    One only has to look at Galveston, USA to appreciate the beauty & resilience of cast iron use in buildings.
    Imagine Rye without it’s quaint jigsaw of historical pieces making such a striking impact, beloved by many around the world.


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