Thursday, November 24, 2005

SeaCourt Passed

SeaCourt received planning permission on Thursday 24th November. Planning Officers fiercly argued for approval and threatened a 3% rise in council tax may be needed to fund the award of costs at any further appeal. Local Residents very sad. The discussion lasted about an hour, going round and around in circles, very close all the time. Finally members were let off the hook with an amendment to screen off certain windows and it was passed 6 to 4.


Anonymous said...

3% rise in tax....surely if they did their job properly there shouldn't be any grounds for appeal.

Disgusting failure of the PDC Planning Dep.


Anonymous said...

I agree. There was no criticism of the Planning Case Officer who in the first place considered the size, mass and scale; overlooking; sunlight etc; and all the PDC policies on these matters, then still supported the scheme, against the obvious interests of the neighbours.

Anonymous said...

There are 2 consolations to bear in mind - Sea Court's future is secure and it will return to residential use. It will no doubt prove to be an interesting place to live.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Having sat through the meeting this morning I am still staggered that it was passed. I think all eleven councillors spoke and all were opposed to this development. The 6-5 vote was passed only because the Chief Executive was wheeled in and threatened the 3 percent cost. How many Planning Board meetings does he attend? Having given this figure and threat he then covered his back and said that the cost was not a planning issue!!! I cannot believe that the Planning Officer could make such a forceful defence of this application which goes totally against their Local Plan QL36 - it could have been the developer standing in his place. Councillor Shakesby was right when he said that they might just as well tear up the Local Plan. It is a sad day for Swanage.

Anonymous said...

I think if they had refused it, there would be a case for the committee members who voted for the refusal it to pay any appeal damages personally.
It may be bad news for the NIMBY neighbours, but it is a sign that Swanage is at last moving on. Good architecture often has to be bold architecture. Lets see how this block turns out, and see if the developer turns out to be a friend of Swanage or the ogre he has been painted.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm all for councillors being personally accountable for their mistakes.

Presumably on the basis that the Councillors now accept that things must move on and being bold is better than standing still, the plans for the Pier Cafe will be passsed without delay when they are next submitted.

Oh, perhaps not, as the locals support the plans and the Planning Office (aka John Butler) doesn't!


The Postman said...

Echo Friday 25th November
[ ]

End of the road for campaign
by Emily Twinch

THE battle to stop flats being built close to a historic Victorian house in Swanage has been lost. Purbeck planning chiefs and government inspectors have rejected at least four planning applications over the past five years for the Sea Court home.

The council received a 1,250-signature petition last week but councillors at a planning board meeting yesterday approved Studland Properties' proposal.
The 19th century building in Taunton Road will now be turned into five flats and a block of eight flats built next to it.

Bett Paxton-Brunning, spokesman for the Sea Court Action Group, said after the meeting: "It's a very sad day for Sea Court. We think it's going to set a precedent for the rest of Swanage. God help it. It's going to be turned into one big block of flats."

The decision was delayed in October for councillors to visit the site but they voted six to four in favour of the plan, with a condition windows in the new apartments were partly obscured. Campaigners were worried the extra flats would ruin the Victorian character of Sea Court, built in 1894. Now empty, it was once the home of the artist George William Joy.

Residents in nearby houses felt the five-storey block would overlook homes and gardens.

Chief executive of Purbeck District Council, Steve Mackenzie, was at the meeting and told councillors they should decide according to planning principles.
He reminded them that if they lost an appeal it could cost the council a substantial amount of money which might lead to a council tax hike.

Bob Field, also from the Sea Court Action Group, said after the meeting: "It's disgraceful. We feel the chief executive was brought in to force the councillors into a financial consideration." Although he added: "At least Sea Court will now be restored - and soon."

Inspectors' reports were looked at for the decision and a letter of complaint will be written to the Deputy Prime Minister. Vice-chairman Cllr Nick Cake said: "One thing that is noticeable from this is the wording the inspector has used is not satisfactory.
"A message should be sent back to the Deputy Prime Minister - these reports should be in plain English."

Anonymous said...

or at least English that Councillors can understand....Janet and John went up the hill....

Anonymous said...

Mr.Cake should realise he is a pot calling the kettle black. The woolly reasons for turning down planning applications in letters from PDC are incredible, and of little use to the applicant.