A Horam dance studio is set to move to a new permanent home after gaining planning permission from Wealden District Council.
On Thursday (June 20), the council’s planning committee south approved an application to change the use of a commercial unit at the Merrydown Business Park in Horam, allow the set up of a studio within it.
The unit is currently under construction as part of the wider Merrydown Business Park site.
While recommended for approval, the application had been called in by ward councillor (and planning committee chairman) Susan Stedman, due to concerns about the loss of dedicated commercial space for a light industrial business.
Cllr Stedman (Con, Horam and Punnetts Town) said: “In the past I know this council has been quite strict about allowing [non-industrial] use in brand new commercial units to try to get more commercial business in.
“Whilst I support this small business – and she is obviously doing really well in the village hall – I am sorry to see one of the biggest [units] will be going for a leisure use rather than the possibility of a mini-light industrial use on the site.
“But equally, it is good to see this sort of business encouraging people to take exercise is growing.”
Cllr Stedman raised particular concerns about the parking arrangements at the site, arguing the leisure use of the site would increase the pressure on the area.
Cllr Stedman’s concerns, however, were not shared by her fellow ward councillor Bob Bowdler.
Cllr Bowdler said: “I am fully supportive of this. It is a business like any other, it might not be industrial but it is a good business.
“It is quite possible the new unit could have stood empty for a number of months [but] it is going to be occupied immediately and offer a great facility for the community.
“I think it is to be applauded and I support it.”
Following a short discussion the application was unanimously approved by committee members.