Shoreham Beach house allowed on appeal

A decision to refuse planning permission for a new Shoreham home has been overturned at appeal and Adur District Council has been ordered to pay costs.

Plans to demolish a two-storey house and replace it with a five bedroom, three-storey detached house in Old Fort Road were refused by ADC’s planning committee in February.

But the committee heard on Monday that the decision had been overturned because the reasons for refusal were ‘not robust’.

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Council officers recommended that the plans be approved at the time but members refused the application due to the ‘excessive scale and massing’ of the development which they said would be ‘detrimental’ to the character of the area.

Proposed design of the house

The five bedroom house would have a ‘much greater footprint’ than the current residence and concerns were also expressed over beach encroachment.

A claim to the land leading on to the beach, at the rear of the property, was previously disputed by the applicant but the authority consulted Land Registry records and considers it to be under ADC ownership.

During a meeting of ADC’s planning committee on February 8, members also expressed concerns about plans for a swimming pool.

Lee Cowen (Lab, Mash Barn) said: “It looks to me that you could just walk off the beach and into somebody’s swimming pool. Are they going to put in a back fence?”

Carol Albury (Con, Manor) added: “Surely we could ask for some sort of screening or divide for safety.”

Plans were later revised so that no development takes place on the council’s land and any swimming pool would remain within the existing garden area.

Council officers explained that a swimming pool does not require planning permission, with one explaining: “There’s nothing stopping me from making a planning application to build a house on any of the member’s front gardens, provided notice is served.”

A report by the planning inspector said the area displayed ‘an eclectic mix of properties’ which could be accommodated due to its ‘vast openness’.

The inspector added: “I am satisfied that the building has been designed to ensure that it would not be harmful to living conditions of neighbouring occupiers.”

The five bedroom house will be a ‘sustainable development’ incorporating solar panels, improved water consumption and it will also be thermally efficient according to the plans.

The planning inspector said that electric vehicle charging points must be installed before the house is occupied.

Planning officers said the decision brought the need for ‘robust refusals’ into sharp focus.

They added: “There is the possibility that if an application is refused, [the council] may have costs awarded against it. So not only do you lose the appeal, but we have to use taxpayers money to pay a form of compensation to the applicant – We have been hit two ways over.

“The inspector felt the council was unreasonable in refusing this application. As yet the claim for costs has not been submitted.”