THURSDAY 25th JUNE 1998 - WD/98/0996/F



Mr Phillips      Two updates essentially Chairman.  One is we’ve received a letter from near neighbours, which states essentially,  that they would wish to refer this Committee to all previous correspondence regarding applications and that the are against any development of any kind at this property.


0:29                 They then make a number of specific points, the first being that they are unaware that any permission has ever been granted for the property for use on a commercial basis, and point out therefore that this application would not simply be a matter of a change of use.


  0:44                 The second point is that any traffic disturbance, they believe would be detrimental to the tranquil and quiet atmosphere in Lime Park, and thirdly reference the fact that the applicant has recently carried out extensive removal of trees, in order, they allege, to expose the building dramatically from all directions and in their opinion, to substantiate his claim that the existing building is unsightly and anything would be an improvement.


1:20                 They refer to the fact that all trees in Lime Park are under the protection of Tree Preservation Orders and that the applicant should not have removed them.


1:35                 The other update I have Chairman, is firstly to check that all members have received their revised pages SB26………….  It………..


Cllr Martin     You’ll find the subtle difference is that they haven’t punched any holes in the page.  We’ll take a couple of minutes so you can all whiz through that.  Yes.  Or would you like to précis that as well Mr Phillips

2:30                 so that….


Mr Phillips      I can précis that.  The additional information, is essentially factual and stems on that page from the points 1), 2) and 3), which are set out and which repeat the provisions of Section 70A of the Town and Country Planning Act.


2:52                 This is a fairly recently introduced power which was introduced essentially to counter the process of attrition through repeated applications, and where we believe that the provisions of this section

3:06                 of the Act are applicable to this case.


3:11                 The first provision refers to the fact that we are enabled to decline to determine applications, if within a period of 2 years, the Secretary of State has refused a similar application or has dismissed an appeal against the refusal of a similar application.


3:39                 The second provision is that there has to have been no significant change since the refusal, in the development plan or in any other material considerations.


                        At 2), if the development in the land to which the applications relate, are in the opinion of the Local Authority the same, or substantially the

3:55                 same.


I think in this regard if I can ask for the, er, application form overlay in respect of the 95 application, which was dismissed on appeal, and if I refer you to the description there at the bottom.  I don’t know if Mr Moss can perhaps lift that up in the screen – refers to change of the use and alteration to form a single dwelling-house.  And, if we look at the red line that was submitted with that application, you see the area of

4:29                 land to which the application related.


If now the same exercise can be done in respect of this application 98/0996.  The description of the application relates to the change of use – refers to a commercial use, but it’s a change of use and alterations to a single dwelling-house, and if we can have the red line again.  You will see that it’s the same area.


5:02                 At the bottom of your revised page SB26, we indicate in that paragraph therefore, why we believe that this application falls within the provisions of that section and we are recommending to you that this authority declines to determine the application.


Cllr Martin            Councillor West.


Cllr West        Thank you Chairman.  I’ve been listening very carefully to what Mr Phillips has said and I’ve also read a lot of documents on this case……..  I think….. Mr Kruschandl has put forward a very strong argument for us to determine this application, and he’s sent … I understand he’s sent a copy to every Member on the 14th June, his 9

5:45                 points, um , which clearly demonstrates that a number of issues have  - now being considered , that weren’t available, or weren’t considered in the previous application.  One, it’s been recognised ……… the application is supported by the Sussex Industrial Archaeological Society.  Which is a major step forward. 


He’s also proposing a 106 Agreement or similar Agreement to be tied in to any grant of planning permission, for the removal of any commercial activities – carried on – i.e. the motor trade being carried on there now …… be removed.  That in itself must represent a tremendous planning gain to the people living in the area.


6:41                 That is their main bone of contention.  The commercial activities, while it may not be authorised, its been carried on for 16 years and Wealden have not been able to put a stop to it.


6:54                 So, we have the opportunity today to approve an application which gives the best available solution to this problem.


7:10                 A dwelling-house there, restored to its former splendour, would be an advantage to the area.  What is there at the moment, I must admit …….. is not a very pleasant sight.  We have the power to rectify that matter and I propose that – would like to suggest that we do determine this application ………….  By granting planning permission.  It will also save this Council a considerable amount of money in pending

7:42                 legal cases.


Mr Scarpa      I’d just mention one thing that er, ……. The assumption that any kind of permission would be implemented.  Obviously, if somebody is given planning permission, signs a planning agreement – the two really only, er, come into effect if somebody wants to implement the planning permission.


                        If the person tends to live on the site, commercial activities, as Councillor West has said, there is no reason to believe that the person would want to give up these commercial activities and

8:18                 therefore there would be considerable incentive for this applicant to carry on as he is at this moment, put the planning permission in his back pocket and perhaps pass it on when he eventually sells it to somebody else to, to carry on as he is at the moment.


Cllr West        The object is to look forward, not keep looking back.  We had a site meeting there on Monday – a number of us attended and there was no evidence suggesting that anybody was living there…. Not as far as I saw.  If you saw something I didn’t, I wish you’d point it out to me.


8:52                 There’s a sink and there’s a toilet.  That is the only domestic evidence I saw that anybody could live there, and I’m quite sure that had the applicant been living there - Mr Phillips would have told us so, in no uncertain terms this morning.


Mr Phillips      Well, I can only confirm to the Members, that we are still to be granted access to all parts of the property.  We’ve consistently been denied access to all parts, and when we have arrived unannounced, there has always been sufficient delay so things can be moved.  We believe, and which is the whole purpose of this Council seeking an injunction, to prevent the unauthorised residential use, that that use has taken place, which is why we are, with the authority of this sub-committee, looking to enforce the terms of the injunction that requires removal of the

9:47                 domestic elements.


                        I think that the other thing that we would say, is that we have, I think in no less than 4 appeal decisions now, had our policies consistently endorsed by the Inspectorate, who as recently as October 9, has concluded firstly, he sees no architectural worth or merit in the building, and I refer you to SB26C on your Agenda, where at the end of paragraph 41, the Inspector says: the complex as a whole lacks any sense of architectural quality.  At 42, he notes that the Council’s Conservation Consultant indicated no such evidence of any use remain and that in her view, the building was of no significance historically.


10:46               43.  He again says no definitive evidence which identifies the building as one of historical importance, and he concludes at 44, that the building is of no inherent architectural or historical merit.


11:01               We would I believe, be opening ourselves to floodgates, if we cast aside our policies in respect of the appeal history that we have here, and we would be sending the wrong messages to individuals who believe that by a war of attrition and lobbying, we are likely to consign our policies essentially to the floor and not to show the consistency that we have, um, which is set out, both in the planning and enforcement history, in refusing applications and where, appropriate

11:31               going through the appropriate appeal procedure, and where the inspectorate have to date always supported the Council.


Cllr Martin     Cllr ……..  The local Member.


Cllr Jarman    Mr Chairman, I thought I ought to come in at this stage and er, make one or two things quite clear.  Councillor West referred to a site visit.  Well, I suppose you could call it that, but it certainly wasn’t a site visit in the sense that it was an official one, organised by this Committee.  It was simply that Councillor West, the Chairman and I and (were nearby) visited another site nearby and at Councillor West’s request, we visited this site, er, informally afterwards. 


12:04               Er, we were not shown around the whole of the building, or, and we certainly didn’t see the far backrooms or upstairs.  So, it would be impossible to say it wasn’t occupied as living quarters, as has been suggested on many previous occasions.


12:30               There is one other thing I think I ought to make quite clear, I think, I heard right, Councillor West refer to this building as if it was once a dwelling-house.  It was never a dwelling-house.  It’s never been a dwelling-house at any time.  Er, all I would add to that, is to say that it seems to me in view of all the things that have been and are going on at this …… address, it would be wrong of us to make a decision on this application today.  And, I believe we should back the decision not to determine, or proposal not to determine.  And, if you wish, Mr Chairman,  I will formally propose that.


Cllr Mrs ?       I’ll second that.


Cllr Martin     Lord Newton.


Cllr Newton    What I really wanted to ask, Mr Chairman, is what issue we were really going to discuss.  I think the Vice Chairman has got us back on track, if I might say so.  The issue we are here considering is whether we should decline to determine this.  We seem to be moving into a

13:32               discussion on the merits of the application.


                        I do agree with the Vice Chairman about what Councillor West said.  I wrote down the phrase he used: ‘restore the house to former splendour’.  I don’t think there ever was a house there.


Cllr West        I said the property to its former splendour.


Cllr Newton    I think you did use the word house – I wrote it down.


Cllr West        A slip of the tongue if it was.  We know it’s not a house.  We’ve been told a hundred times now.


Cllr Newton    Right so, Mr Chairman, I don’t want to prejudice my rights if we are going to discuss the merits of the application.  I would like to come back to it.  But, I would like to support Mr Jarman if he proposes to

14:06               decline and second it.


Cllr Blake       I was going to make the same point.  It’s not ….  if I understand it, we’re declining to accept the application.  If we were to accept it, then we would go on to, to ………….. on it’s merits.


14:34               There’s only one point which troubles me a little.  Perhaps like to explain it…….  On SB26 um, in the second paragraph it says: finally, the add-ons and significant external alterations envisaged by the applicant, makes the proposal more contrary to, etc. 


14:50               It would appear from that that there have been significant external alterations, which are, which make this application different from the previous one.  And, there’s a slight ambiguity in the report, which I think we should clarify.


Cllr Martin     Can you clarify?


Mr Phillips      I can try and maybe, Mr Moss who has the drawings with him.  We are dealing with the same parent building.  We are dealing with the same land which, er, in our opinion falls within point 2) of the section 70 as read out.  There are cosmetic changes and open porches and verandas suggested.  Some Members will be aware of a property, or sorry, not a property, a former Air Raid Shelter which has been referred to as Limestone Cottage and which at the site visit of a couple of days ago, um, the applicant has indicated to us, part of that is now referred to as the Piggery.


16:00               But, essentially we are dealing with the two main lumps of building,  the one that has variously been called ‘Oakwood’, ‘The Barnhouse’ or ‘The Old Steam House’ and the former Air Raid Shelter, subsequently ‘Limestone Cottage’ and apparently now the Piggery and the Radio Shack.  The um, reference to alterations and essentially cosmetic alterations to join some of those, er, various lumps of, of building together.


Mr Moss        Just to come on in on that point.  I suppose from the main alteration, there have been mention cladding the building – well that is very much a detail that we’ve previously considered, what might go on the outside of the building, is once where converted invariably, is quite substantial external changes, which always come into play and are usually conditioned the detail of those.


16:48               There’s obviously an offer to put the materials as the Council would want.  By imposing planning conditions, Members will be aware that we always do have control over the sort of external materials in any event.


17:08               We do expect external material in part.  So, that would always be anticipated, um, throughout the history of this application.  The other points to bear in mind, I think, that significant little alterations, um, is mentioned here, of a canopy here, quite a lightweight canopy to, um, cover the um, steam mount footprint, which is remains, is embedded in the concrete area to the back of the building.  Um, again I suppose you could describe that, it’s certainly an alteration to the building. 


17: 43              But really in terms of the parent building that Mr Phillips has described, er, we’re looking at the same proposal for a single dwelling, um, within principally within the same shell.  So no real material difference in the last submission.

17:58               The other alteration that is being alluded to, er, relates to the, one of the main physical changes, there is a, presently a small gable end roof here, over one of the buildings presently used as a workshop, and that’ll be flattened out.  Er, partly in order to expose, um, the main building.  Again, relatively superficial in the overall context of what’s proposed.


Cllr Martin     Right well then, is there any other ……..


Mr Scarpa      One thing, that er, that um, that in fact there is a Public Inquiry in September on this issue, whether this commercial use.  Obviously, if Mr Kruschandl were successful in establishing his case.  Then obviously it might at some later stage be appropriate for him to put in to …….. application, if he were to do so, trade, in effect swap commercial use or give up the commercial use, for residential use.


18:59               But, er, the fact of the matter is the Council don’t accept – that’s …… (he applied for), accept that there is a commercial use, for more than ten years.  That’s obviously a matter to be determined by the Planning Inspectorate.  Therefore the assumption on which this application is based, that there is a valid commercial use, is in our view an incorrect one.  But, is a matter that will have to be sorted out by the Planning Inspectorate.


19:28               Er, in view ……..  So obviously, after that step has been taken, then obviously the applicant will have to consider his position, whether or not it will be worthwhile putting this sort of application in.


Cllr Martin     Right …….. We’ve got a proposer and a seconder on this.  You might notice that this is a ……….


Cllr West        I put in a proposal first.


Cllr Martin     Did you have a seconder?


Cllr West        I don’t know, you didn’t ask for one.  Right, at any rate the two questions I have – you’re confusing me now.  First of all Mr Kruschandl claims that if we don’t determine this application today, he could apply for a Judicial Review.  If … give a legal opinion on that.

20:20               And, secondly, the Council’s recognised use of this building is for storage and storage and garage.


Mr Phillips      Domestic Garage and Store.  Not a commercial garage.  Domestic Garage and Store.


Cllr West        But, what is that a domestic store or commercial store?


Mr Phillips      No a domestic Garage and Store


Cllr West        So, that store could be used for commercial purposes?


Mr Phillips      No.


Cllr West            Okay.


Mr Scarpa      Basically, the Council will treat the building like a lot of garages.  Somebody, erm, because it was originally and ancillary building, the Council accepted that, um, from being an ancillary building, it became a stand alone building.  But that was the use, it was – vehicles were

21:06               kept in there and as a garage and store………..


Cllr West        Garages and stores are used for commercial purposes.


Cllr Martin     Probably illegally.


Cllr West        I don’t know, but could that be …. If they reverted to their recognised use, are we not opening the floodgates to more and more trouble with …. Commercial …….


Mr Phillips      The building was, was formally an outbuilding to one of the properties in, in – one of the residential properties in Lime Park, and as such it’s a domestic garage and store.  Just as someone’s garage and shed might be within their own curtilage.  That is the planning status of it as far

21:48               as the Council is concerned.


Cllr Martin     Well, I think it’s time we – we’re going round in circles.


Mr Scarpa      Yes, I was going to go on to Councillor West’s first question.  Well, it’s always open for somebody to seek a Judicial Review.  But I don’t think he’d be successful in this case because, the report says it all.  There is a previous Inspector’s decision.  Um, Mr, er, Phillips has said and it’s in the report, there have been no material change in circumstances, er, to indicate that the Committee should be in a position, to actually deal with it.  That it’s a repetitive application.  The matter has been dealt with by the Secretary of State and it falls within the criteria, of Section …… So, although somebody can start legal proceedings, um, I’d say that the chances of success are fairly

22:30               slim indeed.


Cllr Martin     We have a proposer and a seconder for declining to determine – Those in favour.


Mr Scarpa      Sorry, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.  Ten.


Cllr Martin     Those against.


Mr Scarpa      Sorry, eleven.  1, Councillor Blake 2.


Cllr West        Can my vote be noted please.


Cllr Martin     Sure.


Cllr Blake       Chairman.  Reference has been made to the possibility of Judicial Review.  I would feel happier if the word “significant” was deleted from the paragraph I mentioned, particularly since we’ve been talking

23:11               of alterations …..


Mr Scarpa      It’s in the report.  It wouldn’t be in the minutes anyway.  If you want it deleted, I’ll delete it.


Cllr Newton    Sorry, I didn’t quite follow that.  Could you just explain what……..


????                The word significant, SB – 2nd paragraph, 2nd line down


SUBJECT ENDED  after 24:14 minutes







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