Rocklands’ application to keep holiday let

Protestors by the building last April. SUS-140422-112250001
Protestors by the building last April. SUS-140422-112250001

Owners of a holiday park have applied to the council for permission to keep a controversial building on its site.

Rocklands Private Caravan Park, in Rocklands Lane, has submitted a planning application asking for the retention of a holiday let.

The proposals include solar panels on the roof and reducing the size of the balcony.

Members of the Save Ecclesbourne Glen group have voiced their loud opposition to the application and since Hastings Borough Council received it last month, scores of residents have written letters of objection.

Last June there were shouts of joy and cheers from campaigners of Save Ecclesbourne Glen after the council unanimously threw out Rocklands’ retrospective planning application to make alterations to the controversial building.

It wanted to make changes to the building’s ground floor, add additional windows and altered window positions, as well as extend the balcony. Over the last year the property, which in 2012 was given the go-ahead by the council to be built, has been blasted as an ‘offensive carbuncle’ and residents and councillors alike called for the building to be torn down.

In July last year Rocklands’ owners were ordered to stop construction work on the property.

Council officers visited Rocklands to issue a Planning Contravention Notice. The council said the building was more than half a metre too tall than stated in the original planning permission.

In October two independent reports criticised some aspects of the way council planning officers handled the Rocklands Caravan Site application.

A caravan site licence compliance audit, carried out by RH Environmental, said stability of the surrounding land by Rocklands needed to be fully assessed by an expert surveyor or civil engineer.

Objectors believe development in the area around Ecclesbourne Glen in the country park has destroyed its natural beauty.

Maggie Alderson, from Save Ecclesbourne Glen, said the group held a stand in Priory Meadow on Saturday (January 10), which attracted a lot of interest from people.

She said: “People in Hastings are showing in numbers that they feel very strongly about this.

“The building is in an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the size of the house and where it is built has such an impact on the view. It dominates and blights the view.

“This is nothing personal against the developers.

“We have 1,200 members on our Facebook page and more than 100 people have objected to the latest proposals.”

Andrew Blackman, chairman of the Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, said: “That building needs to go but I am confident it will not get planning permission. Original planning permission should never have been granted.

“The effects on Ecclesbourne Glen and the East Hill have been tragic.”

To make a comment on the application online go to http://bit.ly/17fsSfI.

Alternatively post comments to Planning Department, Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, TN34 3UY quoting reference HS/FA/14/01036.