Pressure on a planning application to develop a two-storey building in Military Road garnered a controversial range of views following the publication of an opinion by one objector, in Rye News last week. For the sake of balanced argument, we publish below, a statement from David Hawkins, the man who has made the planning application. Editor.
My application currently before Rother District Council (RDC) for planning permission to develop a garage with a design studio loft above on the currently vacant land adjacent to the Globe Inn in Military Road has generated a great deal of comment.
Unfortunately, some comment has been based on half-truths, untruths and implications of shady dealing and whilst the planning decision is solely in the hands of the council, I feel that I must put some incontestable facts forward to balance the information being widely promoted, much of it via letter-box drops, by an apparent obsessive objector.
Firstly, the land was sold freehold by East Sussex County Council in 2017 at a public auction of properties conducted by Clive Emson, for “a variety of uses subject to all necessary consents.” No “for amenity use only” limitation was attached.
Any suggestion that the purchase was somehow an improper deal is incorrect and offensive to me and probably to the council also.
The hammer price at the public auction was £9,000.
Auctioneers fees, VAT and a further “costs” charge due to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) brought the acquisition cost to more than £15,000.
The site has never been a “wildlife idyll”, more, unfortunately, a dumping place for bottles, dog waste bags and local hedge trimmings.
The original four-storey building on the site was demolished in preparation (subsequently cancelled) for the widening of Rye Hill. The land was unattended for a fifty-year period. Self-seeded ash trees and other scrub brush cover took over and weakened masonry, requiring council-approved removal.
Additionally, the site presented a “misadventure playground” for children and required me to fence it in to avoid future disaster.
Great care was been taken by my surveyor to consult with the RDC conservation officer to arrive at a design that is of appropriate and sympathetic architectural form.
It has never been my intention to develop anything other than a garage / design loft building and I am therefore perfectly willing – should PP be granted – for further development of the site to be ruled out.
In any case, any future change of use would surely require council permission which given recent history, would be most unlikely to be granted.
Far from taking parking places away from the road, the design allows for off-road placement of two to three cars for the one-car width required by the site entrance. A parking gain in fact.
A kind Military Road resident has provided a picture of the original building which stood on the site before compulsory purchase and demolition circa 1970. It is attached for interest and perspective.