RESIDENTS from Trotton and Dumpford have staged a protest outside the newly-opened Southdowns Manor wedding venue.
The demonstration took place on Sunday (December 8), the same day the venue held its grand launch.
Stephen Prendergast is among the residents concerned about the site.
“We are not against the opening of the venue in principle, but there is strong concern about a large-scale increase in the number of weddings being held at the site without adequate safeguards.
“These concerns include road safety, noise from discos, bands, and guests outside the venue, late night traffic in a quiet rural area, and congestion caused by guests driving along narrow roads.”
Residents say the venue should undergo a ‘change of use’ planning process to investigate such issues.
Formerly, the South Downs Hotel, the site has been taken over by the Tabor group. A spokesman for Tabor said: “The Tabor group were delighted at the amazing opening day for Southdowns Manor on Sunday with a very positive response from prospective brides, other guests and most pleasingly, from members of the local community including parish council members.
“The Tabor management team will continue to work together with the parish council and the community in general to ensure no disruption to the community as the business of the manor grows over the coming months and years.
“We are hugely grateful to the very positive responses from residents and indeed to our very special team who have worked so hard to complete the most amazing refurbishment.”
A Chichester District Council spokesman said: “An appeal has been lodged against the council’s licensing sub committee’s decision to grant the premises licence.
“As yet, we have no appeal hearing date.
“In relation to the planning position, we consider that South Downs Manor is operating lawfully as a hotel but if circumstances change planning permission for change of use may be necessary in the future.”