Menu
Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
ice cream kiosk mar19 600

The ice-cream kiosk on the pier – erected without permission and now retrospectively approved – has a window on either side, though the permission was for windowless structures. The planners and the applicant have little interest in detail, the writer says.

Planning committee proves decisive for pier and Stade

Would the Stade footpath get a reprieve? Would the Pier sheds be refused permission? Would sound arguments prevail? Of course not — this is Hastings. Observing the planning committee at work, Bernard McGinley gets the Mugsborough Blues.

The March planning committee of Hastings Borough Council (HBC) met and soon got down to business about the proposal to put five large garden sheds – or ‘kiosks’ as they are called in the application – on Hastings Pier. Some councillors reported personal or prejudicial interests, and Cllr Trevor Webb even left the room. Cllr Alan Roberts continued as chairman, though his friendship with the pier’s owner, Mr Gulzar, is known and might be perceived as a prejudicial interest.

Pier

There were some late modifications for case HS/FA/18/00900. The case officer explained that the proposed sheds were now only for five years, permission expiring on 6 March 2024.   

Diagram showing proposed location of the five kiosks (Source: HS/FA/18/00900 Proposed Block Plan).

Diagram showing proposed location of the five kiosks (Source: HS/FA/18/00900 Proposed Block Plan).

The petitioner against the application spoke well about the issues involved but councillors did not inquire further.  The owner ‘Sheikh’ Gulzar was there and also addressed the committee, explaining how in 54 years he had worked so very hard.  He suggested that people should put their money where their mouth was as though local residents had not done that in extensive fundraising for the pier, before it was suddenly sold to him at an advantageous price last summer.  Then he spoke about Eastbourne Pier.

Conservation Management Plan

For reasons of better planning, the council was ready (in the Decision Notice, Note 5) to advise the applicant:

The applicant is strongly advised to develop a Conservation Management Plan for the development for the Pier as a whole.

Such involvement is only voluntary, and Mr Gulzar did not agree to this, though he was very polite.

(On this matter, Mr Gulzar’s colleague Brett Maclean told HOT: “…the principal planning officer confirmed that CMP’s are advisable for larger scale developments and not necessary for the pier until major development is proposed.

“Certainly Mr Gulzar at the planning meeting said he would be happy to engage with stakeholders and should a CMP be in place he (or a representative) would be happy to engage.”)

The case officer explained the condition (paragraph  7.3 of the committee report) of class ‘A1 use only for the entirety of the lifetime of the development’, a retail use that includes sandwich bars.  Strangely, class A5 (‘Hot food takeaways:  For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises’) went unmentioned, though fast food was understood to be a main purpose of the sheds.

Closed since December, the pier is due to reopen at the end of March (photo: Russell Jacobs).

Closed since December, the pier is due to reopen at the end of March (photo: Russell Jacobs).

With the announcement that the sheds are to be free-standing, not fixed, the question of plumbing came into play — except that it didn’t. Can such plumbing be sound? Skinners recommend concrete bases for all their log cabins. That went unexplained too, as did the question of greasetraps on or under the pier. (Somewhat conveniently, drainage is a building control issue, and therefore not one for the planning committee.)

The application was felt to be ‘on balance’ acceptable, to bring the pier back to life. Cllr Warren Davies proposed and Cllr Matthew Beaver seconded. The sheds were approved by eight votes to one. The sole objector was Cllr Phil Scott, who observed that what he saw was sheds, and that something more substantial was needed.  He also wondered about maintenance arrangements on the pier.

The case officer and councillors kept using the term ‘kiosks’ for the proposed large sheds, and referred to the existing small kiosks on the pier as ‘sheds’. This was confusing.

Award-winning Hastings

Approval of the Listed Building Consent application (case HS/LB/18/00732) was proposed by Cllr Davies and seconded by Cllr Beaver.  It too was approved 81.

Two evenings before, at the HBC Cabinet meeting, Cllr Andy Batsford had loudly explained his vision of an “award-winning” Hastings. That Hastings already existed when the pier was shortlisted in 2017 for the Stirling Prize of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), against national competition and won.

Now the council is treating the heritage of a listed building in a conservation area, acclaimed by RIBA, with five large garden sheds.  Other councils have been laughed at for less.

Stade

The Stade Amusement Park (HS/FA/18/01009) as discussed was mostly about the treatment of the pathway which though regarded as a public right-of-way, was not.  The case officer explained that right-of-way status was a matter for “the landowner” without explaining who that was.

Elsewhere there were references to the owner’s commitments to keeping the pathway open (the proposed narrower, twistier one). This suggested that it was for the amusement park to give assurances about there being no closure.  Some felt it was for the trustees to do their job and protect foreshore assets.

In the Planning Statement of 22 February, about the ‘enlargement’ of the amusement park (into what?), the applicant’s consultants referred to the footpath as a ‘private accessway’ (para 3.10). The accessway is hardly ‘private’, and there is no clear evidence that it is the amusement park’s. In over a year the planners and members and trustees never clarified the matter, or explained how there are at least two sites separated by the pathway. A two-site amusement park makes the assertion of Permitted Development Rights more difficult.

From late 2017 the Foreshore Trust maintained a near-total silence, an apparent dereliction of duty. Cllr Davies helpfully reminded the committee that the Foreshore Trust had not objected to the application.

By approving the amusement park application, the planning committee has effectively handed public land to a private owner.

By approving the amusement park application, the planning committee has effectively handed the public land which comprises the footpath to a private owner.

Stated objections

Anne Scott of the Old Hastings Preservation Society spoke on the petition of objection, and the negative implications of the committee report. Bernard Baker of Baker Architectural spoke on behalf of the applicant.

Cllr Dany Louise, as ward representative, spoke to object to the loss of footpath land. She mentioned how the Coastal Users Group (CUG) were also opposed to the proposal, and that this was not scaremongering or nimbyism. The Foreshore Trust was created in 1893 for a reason, she said: too often ‘regeneration’ meant the privatisation of public land.

In discussion however the committee saw the new proposed footpath as much better than the existing one. (The principle of public land they passed over.) Cllr Mike Edwards moved approval and Cllr Davies seconded, adding endorsements about seaside aesthetics, and suggesting there were guarantees when there are not.

(Meanwhile Cllr Judy Rogers of the Foreshore Trust and HBC Cabinet was seen to be nodding vigorously, as the role of the Foreshore Trust was underplayed, even ignored.)

A night to regret

No sooner was the Pier ice-cream shed granted retrospective permission than it was in breach of itself.  A complaint was lodged that it did not comply with the approved plans (condition 2) of the two applications.   The current ice-cream shed has windows on two sides, but the permission is for windowless sheds.   This was pointed out to HBC planning department in October 2018.   The planners and the applicants never put this right, having little interest in detail.

For this observer, the only two to emerge from the meeting with any credit were Cllr Scott, who said ‘sheds are sheds’ and voted against, and Cllr Louise, who objected to the abandonment of public space for private profit. (The manner of that abandonment also drew comment, in ‘noises off’.)  Cllr Scott also noted that the Conservation Management Plan for the pier was not compulsory, meaning there was no maintenance plan for the five sheds.

Reportedly the pathway is to be kept open, for the present. There is no longer a mechanism to ensure that however, because the Foreshore Trust did nothing to protect it.

Even by HBC standards this was a low evening.  The benefits alleged were very hard to see.

Posted 13:46 Friday, Mar 8, 2019 In: Home Ground

8 Comments


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT
  1. Bolshie

    Penny, you ask who appoints the Trustees for the Foreshore Trust.
    Take one guess ??? ………….Its Hastings Borough Council !!
    Look at the Trustees – all Labour councillors.
    But of course you will be told this “Charitable Trust” is independent from the Council. And even the “Protector” whose job it is to monitor this Trust will tell you it is independent.
    I think there are a few single adjectives you could use to describe this set up. I will refrain on Libel grounds there and let you think of those.

    Comment by Bolshie — Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 @ 13:49

  2. Penny

    Who appoints the Foreshore Trust? Who are they?
    Is this, too, down to Lodge meetings?
    The same names and faces keep appearing in positions of power and influence, regardless of nous, intelligence or relevance to the posts.
    Is it just the power they covet, or do they get remunerative rewards as well?

    Comment by Penny — Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 @ 10:51

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    There are many who have over the past decade endeavoured to stand up to this council but without success. Every time a complaint is made this council throws unlimited resources at complainants to thwart any progress. Just take the Rocklands fiasco which continues unabated. Look at the myriad of planning applications which receive huge protests and objections but all to no avail. The pier, the amusement arcade and the old bathing pool site are examples of the most recent outrages. Next up will be the unacceptable proposasl to erect ground based solar panels in OUR Country Park. This council professes to ensure transparency in all its dealings but we do not witness this. David Woolf is absolutely correct – it has never been clearer that we need to remove party politics from local governance. But this will be no easy task with such an arrogant party here in this town which apperars to take the view that their opinions are superior to any held by the electorate here in Hastings & St. Leonards.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 @ 08:20

  4. David Woolf

    The controlling party of HBC also effectively controls the Foreshore Trust and hold influence on local charities such as Magdalen and Lasher where they appoint trustees by right. Whether of left or right, a party that has been in power for ten years or more becomes cosy with local powerful interests and finds it hard to admit past mistakes. It has never been more clear that we need to remove the party politics from local governance. Will anyone stand up to make this happen in Hastings?

    Comment by David Woolf — Monday, Mar 11, 2019 @ 11:41

  5. J B KNIGHT

    My GOD! The bias of this reporting of the HOT and HIP is so biased its not broad thick paint wash but stuck on like strong anaglypta and glue.

    All forgetting, how biased and prejudiced and bad poor management the “People’s Pier” group was, and how it was their mismanagement and poor financial planning and accounting which got it into this position of being repossessed and put up to bid.

    The sheds all have to be closed down in bad weather, which means businesses and vendors lost business and of course any employed staff have to be laid off for those days. Looks cute and quaint and vintage but really a very bad idea.

    So stop singing your praises, you have none. and stop moaning. We are in this position as a direct result of the original bad management. by the tiny contingent that calls itself The People.

    There are a lot of people do not go on the pier and are pretty disgusted by the actions and attitude of the People’s Pier People. even though they may themselves individually and businesses put money and finance in themselves.

    We are where we are because of you, Let’s have a few fingers pointing back as well as forward.

    Comment by J B KNIGHT — Monday, Mar 11, 2019 @ 10:53

  6. Chris Hurrell

    Excellent report on the latest dismal episode of the farce that passes as planning in Mugsborough.

    Anybody who has the strength can listen to the meeting:

    Pier https://soundcloud.com/chris-hurrell-229068096/pier-planning-committee-06032019

    Stade https://soundcloud.com/chris-hurrell-229068096/stade-pc

    Comment by Chris Hurrell — Saturday, Mar 9, 2019 @ 13:40

  7. Ms.Doubtfire

    Surely it was not appropriate for Cllr. Alan Roberts to chair this meeting? There is some evidence now appearing which clearly shows his very cosy friendship with Mr. Gulzar. Whoops! Has our planning department failed to really check everything before this meeting went ahead I wonder (and I am not talking about the flawed planning documents either).
    If you read the council’s Planning Protocol document it does appear that his attendance at Chairman of the planning commitee could appear as controversial with a strong prejudicial flavour. Surely this needs some further investigation if we are to believe the transparency promised by this council on all planning matters?

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Friday, Mar 8, 2019 @ 17:01

  8. Bolshie

    Very well covered article that merely demonstrates it is business as usual with the Planning Committee. The pier application was not one you go have gone to William Hill’s and put a bet on it would get refused.

    One of the things that sticks out is indeed the cosy friendship with the Sheik and that Cllr Roberts. There are a few images on a social media site of this Cllr posing along with the Sheik at one of his soirees. No doubt H.O.L.T. could find them. These do not give you much confidence of no favouritism on this Councillor’s role.
    If I remember correctly this Sheik said he was going to make this pier one of the best in England. Can’t see a bunch of sheds achieving that status.
    As for the Stade – another expected approval despite the plethora of objections by the public and the CUG, the latter being largely HBC officers and councillors. No doubt fearful of an appeal being an influence here. And right to the end nothing from the Foreshore Trust that is in that big shared HBC bed. A charitable set up that seriously needs some investigating by the Charity Commissioners.

    Comment by Bolshie — Friday, Mar 8, 2019 @ 16:26

Leave a comment

Also in: Home Ground

«
»
More HOT Stuff
  • SUPPORT HOT

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!

    ADVERTISE

    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…

    DONATE

    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal. It’s easy!

    VOLUNTEER

    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

    SUBSCRIBE
  • Subscribe to HOT