Plans to demolish a cottage in East Lavington and build a ‘Georgian style mansion which would look more appropriate in Chichester’ have been thrown out by Chichester District Council’s planning committee against their officers’ advice.
The plan, submitted by James Scott-Webb and his wife was to demolish Copse Cottage in Norwood Lane and replace it with a new four bedroom home.
But the long running planning process has caused acrimony and there were strong objections from East Lavington Parish Council.
The plan was ‘red carded’ by Cllr John Elliott who wanted it debated and decided by the planning committee rather than under delegated authority by officers.
The parish council objections were outlined by its vice chairman Charles Britton and two other villagers also voiced their objections at the planning meeting yesterday (July 19).
East Lavington parish councillors accused the applicant and the district council of carrying out pre planning talks which were never made public.
Objecting to the plans they said: “No explanation has yet been provided for this situation which East Lavington Parish Council considers to be highly unsatisfactory, wholly irregular and completely lacking in the transparency which is expected of local government.”
Mr Scott-Webb told the planning committee the accusations had been investigated formally by the district council and it was found there was no case to answer. “I feel the parish council’s aggressive and unwarranted behaviour has detrimentally affected the perception of our case.”
He said his plans were to build a four bedroom family house in an ‘extremely private location’ not a ‘very visible mansion’.
But Mr Britton said the cottage was being replaced with a ‘Georgian style town house’.
“The new house would be too large, much too high and an unsuitable design in this rural location all on its own at the top of a small hill and very visible.” He said it would be more appropriate in Chichester but completely out of place in the national park.
Cllr John Elliott said the new house would : “stick out like a sore thumb.”
Members turned down the plan on the grounds its scale, mass and design were harmful to the national park setting and objected to the removal of the cottage which they said was a non- designated heritage asset.
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