Sui generis

Pizza & Prosecco at 22 Cinque Ports Street

Sui generis sounds a little like an exotic dish from some far away place but no, it’s Latin for ‘of its own kind’ and a term used to categorise buildings that do not fall within any particular use class for the purposes of planning permission.

It’s not a term you hear too regularly, but it is being used currently on a building in Rye under planning application reference RR/2021/1815P  which refers to the premises  formally trading as the William Hill betting shop at 22 Cinque Ports Street, Rye, TN31 7AD, which until recently has laid empty.

The application (which has yet to be determined) is for Change of use from betting shop (sui generis) to café, food takeaway and antique shop (sui generis-mixed use)

It is good news that another empty commercial property in such a prominent position has attracted a tenant, empty shops don’t give a good impression for visiting tourists and one fewer can only help.

Looking at Rother District Council’s planning portal, the application has the support of Rye Town Council (5 October 2021) and Rye Conservation Society also has no objection to the application in a letter dated 21 October 2021, subject to certain conditions.

The building now looks very impressive, completely refurbished and very chic, trading as Pizza & Prosecco. Last Saturday, October 30, its doors were open to the public (see photo) but perhaps somewhat premature, as of Sunday, October 31 the application was still registered online as undecided. The decision is due to be determined on 15 November 2021.

The old William Hill betting shop, now transformed.

Having gone through the planning system myself in the last few months, I know first hand how protracted and delayed the planning system is at the moment, there are no short cuts and we are all at the mercy of the planning department who have a great deal of catching up to do.

It seems likely that planning consent might be granted, but opening up before the application is determined is a brave move or have I missed something?

Sui generis is quantifiable, in this instance changing from a bookies to something totally different but time will tell if the planners agree, when and if planning permission is approved. There’s no such thing as a sure bet, especially when it involves planning permission.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. It’s great to see the building in use and a new venture springing up following the economic pressure caused by the pandemic. However, if this has been completed and open for business without the proper planning permissions in place then something is wrong. We shouldn’t accept the ever increasing disregard for the rules – once again Rother DC appear to be failing in their duty.

  2. Without Planning permission isn’t the proprietor of Pizza and Prosecco trading illegally? Probably best not to dine there until permission is granted,in case the Planning Police raid the joint……..hope they have a licence for the alcohol at least.

  3. With the blessing of Rye Town Council,and the conservation society,the proprietor of Rye new Pizza parlour may have jumped the gun in opening his new premises a few weeks without full planning permission, but full marks to him bringing this building back into a business,as its been an empty eyesore for far too long. Maybe people should also vent their spleen at Rother district Councils dereliction of duty at the appalling state of our Landgate tower, which is far more Important than a small breach in a planning application,which is nodoubt just waiting to be rubber stamped.

  4. Surprised that this opinion piece would be published by Rye News without giving the owner a chance to respond. Seems unneighbourly and not in the spirit of making Rye a friendly place to do business. Three years ago when we had building regs approved (I realise this is different than planning) it took three months for the public approval after we received our letter. Likewise, a neighbour had their work approved 6 weeks ago but it is still listed as undecided.

  5. Just walked past this “unapproved restaurant” to see the door, on the station approach side,
    now marked “deliveries” has 4 large waste bins lined up on the pavement next to it. One of the reasons Planning Permission is required is surely to ensure that adequate & correct provision is made for such things, clearly this is not the case here.

  6. In its response to Rother regarding the application for ‘Pizza and Prosecco’ on Cinque Ports Street, Rye Conservation Society did not object to the application but qualified its comment as follows: “subject to neighbours, ESCC Highways re waiting for take-aways and Environmental Health on refuse storage”. The qualification as to satisfactory waste storage arrangements and concerns as to vehicles potentially waiting on this corner of the A259 were echoed by the Town Council in its support for the application.

    The new owners have decided to open in advance of any planning approval entirely at their own risk. Given the current delays in Rother’s Planning Department, this is to a degree understandable. However the fact that neither the Town Council nor the Conservation Society have objected should not be taken as condoning the current situation.

    Finally, as to Landgate, RCS has been informed by Rother that the five-year Scheduled Monument Consent from Heritage England has now been received. They have instructed John Bailey of Thomas Ford, Architects, to get quotes and oversee the maintenance works, to be carried out as soon as practicable.

  7. If the proprietor was to wait for RDC I would imagine he would of grown old and retired by the time they validated the application let alone decided on it.

    No doubt they would prefer it to be empty than trading.


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