Wealden District Council




Area Plans South Committee Meeting 2-3-2000



Mr Scarpa                                SB6 Herstmonceux 99/0810.  The Old Steam House, Lime

(Head legal services          Park, Herstmonceux.

serving 15+ years)


Mr Black                       Ah yes Chairman thank you.  Firstly, I’d like to just draw

(Replacement case            members attention to page SG8.  And the second, the second

officer to Mr Moss          item in the history section. WD/98 (oakland?) 69. An

who served 15 + yrs)          application for certificate of lawful development for use … B1 light industrial workshops and office. …. A public inquiry took place on the 18th & 19th January.  Um, I can confirm Chairman that the appeal has been dismissed by way of a letter from the department of the environment dated the 24th February.


                      Secondly, Chairman can I just perhaps confirm to you that members of the Committee have received a letter from the applicant dated the 9th February, entited .. entitled ‘Viable Use’.  This letter actually encloses statistical information from Ross & Co, who as most members will know are local estate agents and valuers, and the letter sets out various costings and figures for the conversion in the change of use of this building for various B1 and alternative uses.


Cllr Hubbard                  Yes, certainly I received that.  I received several other letters,

(Chairman APS)          and I’m sure the members have as well.  One of these the 28th February, um and er, a letter of the 4th February to you.  There are various others what… enclosed …won’t go through them all, but it’s a fairly …….miscible … pocket.


Mr Black                       Thank you Chairman it, its really just a …. Pertinent…, the points that are raised in that specific letter dated the 9th February, which relate to the… costing the… costing, specifically on the basis of the viability of commercial uses are not addressed through this report, and that was deliberate, and the reason being that this report, before you today is for the residential use of the building, and your officers have taken a view that should the applicant wish to pursue er, a commercial activity, that perhaps the contents in that letter …all of the……. would be best considered through a new application for commercial use on the site.  Just to make that point clear Chairman.


Cllr Hubbard                  Yes, I, I have advised the applicant that he should do that.  In, in view of the advice he received from the, er, the department when they, er turned down the application for um, non-determination, there was a need to put this in and I’m sure, I hope he will be doing that.


Mr Black                       Thank, thank you Chairman.  Er, if I could also just draw members attention to pages SG20 and SG21.  Those members that were in attendance of, at the APS meeting late last year on the 9th December will recall that officers were invited to meet with the applicant with a view to discussing various alternative uses for the land and the building.  And just to draw members attention to those paragraphs on SG20 and SG21 which follows meetings …n  may….. discussions which were undertaken with the applicant.  (Why was Mr Barker not present at this meeting)


                                                And finally, Chairman just to say that Mr Barker is present with us today, um and members may wish to question him on specific points relating to the archaeological …claimed archaeological interest of the building and or the architectural merits thereof.  And that completes the update Chairman.


Cllr Hubbard                  Councillor Jarman.


Cllr Jarman                     Mr Chairman I think perhaps I should start by saying that I am

(Local Member)          not totally opposed to this, er ……….  Policy…. for use for residential purposes is a suitable way of making a residential purpose apply to….the……..    I am not however……………….. er and I would be interested to hear what other members of the committee had, before I made any form of proposal.


Cllr Hubbard                  Councillor West, I think you wish to speak.  (to Cllr Jarman) You, you want to hear the views of other members?


Cllr Jarman                     That’s right.


Cllr West                       Thank you Chairman.  Um, conscious of the fact that I have to

(Member in support)          leave at three o’clock today, I prepared an aid memoir and did enough copies for every member. 


Cllr Hubbard                  Have members got this ……..……on their desk


Cllr West                       This, this building is deteriorating and ….will become an eyesore.  The policies laid down in this ‘new strategy’ by English Heritage, quite clearly put the onus on the planning system to progress things…. Um.  I understand that, er, I think the Heritage, or one of the organisations offered to mediate to ……… the applicant.  This er …offer has I understand been rejected.  Um, it did seem a way forward.  It….um…. its been rejected.  I can see no reason why we cannot approve this application today.  Um, I’m confident that if it does go to appeal, both English Nature, Heritage, Sussex Archaeological Society and one other, will support the applicant at appeal.  Um, I’ve no doubt about that. 


                                      The point….. If we don’t do… what is going to happen to it?  We’ve acknowledged, Mr Barker’s acknowledged that the .. have a history and it would be suitable for inclusion in a list…if we had a list.  We don’t have one, unfortunately.  Erm, maybe that’s for another depart… another day to discuss.  What are we going to do about it?  It a… because of the, the nature of the planning system, you would normally put in an outline application and agree materials and so forth.  With a change of…er... this policy, particular issue we can’t do that.  It has to be a full out…. a full application.


                                                The applicant has put forward four suggested, um, external appearances.  One of which is identical to the original construction; match-board with a slate roof.  Um, if you don’t like that, you have a choice of putting what …. finishing outside you want.  But basically this is the original building.  Underneath the tin is the original match-board.  But, if you don’t like that, choose one, or he’s put ….four different ones, um, it’s not going to go away this building.  Let’s make it, something of it, and approve this app .. application today and draw a line under it and learn from it.  Thank you Chairman.


Cllr Hubbard                  ….. I do feel the officers will have something to say about the, the various categories of use, um, there in the, the plan, for example residential use, a commercial use and so on.  And certainly, er, when I spoke to the applicant back in the beginning of February, um, I said that my way of going forward……. would be to look at this, the commercial use of this building in lines we have……. his letter. 


As, um, was mentioned by Mr Black, he, he didn’t bring this into the report, because this was a separate exercise.  But there is another use of obviously that can be made.  But I, I’m merely making this point in general.


Mr Kay                                    Er, I wonder whether it would be a ..… perhaps I should save

(Assistant district          to the end Mr Chairman.  I just wondered whether Councillor

planning officer               West had any evidence that the Sussex Archaeological Society

serving 15+ yrs)          or English Heritage would support the appellant on appeal.


Cllr West                       Well, there’s certainly a letter I’ve seen, um .. trouble is I’ve got four lever arch files full up with ……...  I thought I brought sufficient, um, I’ll have a look through it, but there is a letter I’ve seen where they have, er, more or less stated they would support ……. as close as a public body like English Nature or Sussex Archaeological could go.

Mr Kay                          It would be useful er, if the officers could be, could see that letter.


Cllr West                       I’ve got the original survey and the planning application drawing, and they are identical ……...  So, I don’t know what ……… 


Cllr Hubbard                  Fine, well that case, um … no comments to make at this point in time……..


Cllr Ellwood                   Yes Chairman.  The question as I see it is policy.  And clearly,

(Hailsham town           under the recommendations 1, 2, 3, and 4, we have an awful

Council)                         lot of policies which this application breaches.  And, I’d like to take the emotional issue out of this ……. We, this has been ongoing for a number of years.  We’ve been bombarded by the applicant and, you know, taken on board like everyone else …. this point.  But, we cannot get away from policy issues.


                                                This is outside the urban framework, …etc.. I won’t bore you with them….. and therefore I would remove …. move for a recommendation for refusal Chairman.


Cllr Hubbard                  Mrs Kirkpatrick.


Cllr Kirkpatrick          Thank you Chairman.  Erm, I, I …. tend to go along with Cllr West’s view.   I think it is not suitable for a commercial use.  It a er, the location is completely wrong for a commercial use and whilst I’m not convinced of the fact that this ……is… the er, right …………….  It does seem to me that a domestic dwelling on this site is the right way forward.


Cllr Hubbard                  Councillor Blake.


Cllr Blake                       Erm, I would support the um …………... for permission, but um on page SG21 I ………………………….  If members decided that it is imperative to secure retention of the building, then the whole issue requires more careful and detailed examination along the lines set out by the County Archaeologist in his letter dated 18th January 2000.  That letter is reproduced in the appendix and I read his letter, and it seems to me that the approach of the County Archaeologist ……. are perfectly valid and sensible and proper one which is the correct… the approach which is normally adopted in er looking at er, at er proposals for ……………… or similar buildings.  And, I, I would hope that a process along the lines suggested in the County Archaeologists letter can be, um undertaken, and indeed, even if, even if this application is refused, it will be undertaken, because I do believe that there is something there that justifies attention in an appropriate form.

                                      I’m not convinced that a residential proposal which is before us is the, the only or the best way of achieving that objective.  So I, I would make that plea, that the …… takes the Archaeologists advice……. I would simply add that the er that, that the information I have been sent on the viability of alternative proposals, um raises a whole number of range of questions in my mind, which I would like to see fully explored. 


Cllr Hubbard                  Well Councillor Simmons was first.


Cllr Simmons                  Thank you very much Chairman.  I would like to follow

(new to APS)                 Councillor Blake’s point then, and Councillor Blake referred to .sh…. the question of whether members should consider this building should be retained or protected on archaeological, historical or any other valued grounds.  I think the one line used in this report which finally convinced me was this,  and it’s the reference Inspector, Inspector Michael on this occasion 7th July 1998, SG22.  …..In this erm, in conclusion ………in his opinion there was no evidence of the buildings architectural, historical importance.  And it closes, would be unsympathetic to the rural setting contrary to the development plan 8. 


                                      Now, I have not heard any convincing argument that this building is of greater importance than that er, considered by Inspector Michael.  I see at the moment no reason to contravene our own development plan.  As Mr Barker is here Mr Chairman, erm, should he wish to counter the Inspector I would be delighted to hear what …………


Cllr Hubbard                  Have you any ……….... Mr Barker.


Mr Barker                      I wouldn’t wish to counter the Inspectors comments.  I think

(conservation officer          they are perfectly valid.

replacing Ms Bird)


Cllr Hubbard                  Councillor West.


Cllr West                       Thank you Chairman.  Um……..


Cllr Hubbard                  Could I just before you start off, remind you that you’ve already had one bite at the cherry, so make your remarks …..


Cllr West                       Thank you Chairman.  Um, I think I ………. Um, Inspector Michael in reaching his, um views was presented with Chezel Bird’s, um, archaeological report which turns out to be a completely inaccurate, um, piece of work…. and her, those views have been countered by, ah, … Mr Barker for instance and er, the, the person that did the, the report on behalf of um, East Sussex County Council.  Erm, who, who’s report was part of this, er …..  So, Inspector Michael quite rightly believed Chezel Bird.  The fact that she got it wrong, must be a material consideration.  If Inspector Michael had had the report as presented to us by, er, East Sussex County Council …..…….. He would most probably have come to a different decision.  And, conscious of that, um, Mr Kay asked if I had any…. I can’t find the actual letter, but I do have one from, um, English Heritage to Mr Moss, which states: your Council may therefore wish to consider whether the building should be put on a local list, or simply in its absence take a decision that the historic interest of the site based ….on recent report, is sufficient to be a material planning consideration.


Mr Kay                          Is that a letter in respect of this application?


Cllr West                       Ols Steam House, Lime Park, Herstmonceux.  Dated 11th August 1999.


Cllr Hubbard                  Is the application date along there?  …………………..


Cllr West                       Sorry….


Cllr Hubbard                  Any application number on it?


Cllr West                       Thank you for your letter dated 4th August 199………….  I have now received infor……… informal reviews on the Monument Protection Programme.  Addressed to Mr Moss.


Mr Kay                          Yes.  That’s the reason I ask, because Mr Moss is not the case officer.  This is not the case officer………….


Cllr West                       He was at the time.


Mr Kay                          Oh, yes…….. and the previous…….


Cllr West                       And that was why he wrote to English Heritage… for their views, and this is a reply to their letter.


Mr Kay                          You haven’t answered my question…….


Cllr West                       It was dated …..


Cllr Hubbard                  All, all, all Mr Kay is trying to get from you…. Mr West is whether that particular letter, because there have been so many applications, is……….


Cllr West                       It refers to DM, DM/SC/99/0810/F.  Now, is that the …the…..


Mr Kay                          Yes it is.

Mr West                        So, the answer to your question is yes, it is a material …….  Would you like to……


Cllr Simmons                  Chairman, Char…….  If I may, I asked a provocative question.  I’m not an architect, I’m not a historian, and therefore I read with interest Inspector Michael’s conclusion.  I’m quite open to be persuaded otherwise.  So I asked … our own resident expert if he …. with all new evidence to counter the Inspector’s conclusion….he did not.  Therefore, I am inclined to follow his guidance.


Mr Scarpa                     Can I make one comment…….. I was at the inquiry, when er, ……….. at the inquiry when the appellant did set out, in, in, in, suitable detail what he thought were, were the historical features.  And there was considerable discussion……as when the …..erected, … so, er, I appreciate the views of the people were not considered at that stage, but the appellant did…. give his side of things.  Explain what he thought were historic features….. and ……those features…and um……..are the same ones that we are …………..


Cllr West                       Can I just come in on that Chairman.  I’m ………..


Cllr Hubbard                  I’d like to get one thing quite clear in my own mind, and I’m quite sure the members ……………make it clear.   And, I’ve listened to…… and I did ask the officers …..  I know Mr Kay wants to reserve his fire, but on this particular one it would be of interest to give guidance to the committee.  Members have, some members have said that a residential use is the only one that’s appropriate.  I myself have advised the applicant that a commercial use would well be er, er applicable, and I’ve certainly said that um, in the pecking order that the commercial use comes before residential use, in, in a case like this, concerning, with the, the district plans.  Now, if I’m wrong that’s fine, but if I’m right would you please highlight it.


Mr Kay                          In policy terms, the err, the appropriateness of the building to be used for commercial use, for business use does come first before a residential.  Residential is .. policy terms a last resort.  That doesn’t mean to say that every building is suitable for either B1 or residential. 


Cllr Hubbard                  Fine.  Um, Cllr Mrs Tidy.


Cllr Tidy                         Thank you Chairman.  This goes against all policies

(Chairman SPED          including………..  It goes against all policies.  If this

formerly Chairman of           particular building were transported anywhere else within the

the Council)                    Wealden area, I am quite sure that .. anybody putting it forward for conversion, they would have been derided and laughed at …..  This is not a building that is worthy of conversion.  If it hadn’t been for the fact that the applicant has done a lot of work on the inside over a period of years, um, all you would have been looking at in that particular …….. is a storage shed.  But patio doors have been put in and windows  have been put in and the whole inside of the structure has been made to look as though …………  This building in its early stages was purely a steam house and a business use, for business use.  It was not a residential property, um, I would feel very uncomfortable in permitting residential development there, because if I knew that there was a monument there, who in their right mind is going to want to buy it ……….the planning application, with all that goes with it and the fact that members of the public might wish to come visiting. 


Um, if it is an archaeological monument, it should be left as one.  It should be left as undisturbed as possible.  And … in more of its entirety as it, as it ……… and not changed into residential.  It obviously had a business use at one stage, although it was part of Lime Park farm …….. it was part of their electricity supply, although some of it I believe, went into Herstomonceux as well.  So, um, that part of it could be taken as a …….. business use and as such it is a business use that should be given.  …………….. a residential use.  And, it would be more compatible for us to find a sympathetic, and it would have to be a very sympathetic, bearing in mind where it is situated.  It would have to be a sympathetic business use, um, before a residential use, so I, that’s why I will second, er, Councillor Ellwood and I seconded him anyway in treating this application.


Cllr Hubbard                ………………….. Cllr Jarman.


Cllr Jarman                               Chairman, as I said at the beginning I am not totally opposed to the idea of residential use.  I accept that the basic use of the building is commercial.  It has always been so.  A ……..not  ……………… better for it to be residential.  It is surrounded by a series of residential properties.  …. very reliant indeed a large extent ….by a use for commercial purposes.  So a … reasonable solution might be for this to become eventually a residential.  However, I don’t think the present building as it is  …….as the proposals are, er, could possibly … and therefore …support ………  But I wouldn’t like to … put out of all mind in my view that it could be residential…property. 


                                      I can also see the use for commercial purposes, and I can think of a number of commercial uses that would not cause a nuisance and disturbance to most of ……..building, er, that is the point I was making Chairman, and perhaps ….. will some day be a solution.  A solution has got to be found.  There is no question about that.  Something has got to be done.  Er, to get rid of this, er, problem that has been going on a long, long before I was a member of this, er, committee and er, I hope it will finish long before I cease to be a member of this committee.  And, so Mr Chairman I don’t think we’ve got it, I don’t think its right yet, but I think maybe …. we’ll, we’ll be …… the right lines.  I do however, believe that if the time comes that we give planning permission of one kind or another, that it must be coupled with some form of agreement.  Presumably a 106 agreement that gets rid of all the existing planning permission, or existing planning rights.  So, it comes down to whatever we agree to ……. and nothing else.  And we’ll have no more of this ifs buts and …. maybes………


Cllr Hubbard                  Anybody else who wishes to speak.  Right.  We have a proposal that this application should be refused.  Er, I would just like to repeat again what I said earlier on .. I have advised the applicant himself……  he wrote to me in February.  My own view is that ….. should be taken in line with the, with the, with the, er Wealden various plans ….to seek the commercial application.  This doesn’t mean to say that that would be … successful one.  But, I am sure that the right sort of commercial use would be much easier to look at and sustain, than, than this particular residential use. 


                                      Um, I know he is here and I hope he will listen to what I’ve said.  Anyhow, it has been proposed and seconded for refusal.  Now I’m sure I ………


Cllr West                       I did propose a, approval.  Um…….


Cllr Hubbard                  …… Let me think first.  I will take the proposal for refusal.  If that is not carried, then your, your amendment, your proposal for, of er, approval will be put to the vote.  It has been proposed and recommended for refusal for various reasons.  All those in favour.


Mr Scarpa                     1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.  Nine. 


Cllr Hubbard                  Against.


Mr Scarpa                     One.   The ….…. carried.







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