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Planning inspector dismisses hotel appeal over 'eyesore’ garden development

Planning inspector dismisses hotel appeal over 'eyesore’ garden development

A planning inspector has agreed with Eastbourne Borough Council's refusal to give permission for a hotel development that has ‘a degrading and harmful impact’ on the surrounding conservation area.

The council served an enforcement notice for a catering building, raised decking and pergolas in the front garden of the Congress Hotel, 31 to 41 Carlisle Road, to be removed in March 2022 following a case hearing. They had been built without planning permission and were deemed to be ‘detrimental’ due to ‘their size, form and poor design which is unsympathetic and incongruous within this setting’. 

The owner applied for retrospective planning permission which was declined and launched an appeal. 

Last week, Elizabeth Lawrence, an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, dismissed the appeal, saying: “In terms of form, detailed design and materials they fail to respect or blend in with the character or appearance of the host villas or the street scene as a whole.  

“They breach the front building line of the host building and totally dominate the front garden area, obscuring views of the lower parts of the host building. They have resulted in the front of the property appearing cramped, cluttered and visually degraded. In addition, the structures, which are prominent within the street scene, interrupt and obscure views of the uniform front gardens and lower front elevations of this row of villas from within the street scene.  

“For these reasons the proposed development is totally out of keeping with the host property and its setting and has a degrading and harmful impact on the character and appearance of the area. It fails to preserve the character or appearance of the College Conservation Area (CCA) and has also resulted in clear harm to the significance of the CCA.” 

While she acknowledged the catering facilities provided extra business for the hotel, the inspector said the damage to the conservation area ‘clearly outweighed’ this. 

The council enforcement notice, which had been put on hold awaiting the outcome of the appeal, is now active and the hotel owner has two months to comply. 

Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet Member for Heritage Assets, said: “This eyesore development is entirely unfitting for the College Conservation Area and I am pleased the inspector has agreed with our decision. 

“It is important that planning rules are adhered to, particularly in conservation areas which are given this title so that we protect their historic character and appearance now and for the future.”

Published on January 16, 2023