Residents angry at license for Southdowns Manor

South Downs Hotel''''Picture by Louise Adams  C131204-2 Mid South Downs Hotel
South Downs Hotel''''Picture by Louise Adams C131204-2 Mid South Downs Hotel

A DECISION to grant a license to a wedding venue is “insensitive and inconsistent” according to Chris Hodgson, chairman of the Trotton with Chithurst Parish Council.

A decision was made on Friday, September 27 by members of the Chichester District Council (CDC) licensing and entertainment sub committee to grant the former Southdowns Hotel, now renamed the Southdowns Manor wedding venue, a licence allowing it extended opening hours until the early hours of the morning.

However, residents are “delighted” that the planning enforcement department of CDC is now going to investigate whether there has been a change of use at the venue and, therefore, whether a planning application should be made.

“We are also looking into whether the board of the South Downs National Park Authority should also be taking a much more active and engaged interest in this major conflict with the Park’s objectives,’ said Mr Hodgson.

“So far they have declined to get involved.”

Residents of Trotton, Dumpford and surrounding areas presented submissions at the hearing to oppose the license.

William Wood was among those to make a representation at the meeting.

Mr Wood said he was concerned about the noise from guests at the venue: “People will be leaving in small groups and small numbers but eventually they will be outside awaiting a taxi or a minibus. You get people enjoying an evening who will be coming out of the venue and making noise.”

A spokesman for the applicant, the Tabor group, said: “We are pleased with the outcome but are concerned that residents have somehow gained the wrong idea of what kind of events we run.

“Tabor offers the highest levels of customer service, which are professionally managed.

“Southdowns Manor will be no exception.

“We have satisfied all responsible authorities as well as taking on board the representations of local residents before making their decision.

“We want to work with the community and would like to offer Southdowns Manor for the next Trotton Parish Council meeting on November 13.”

A spokesman for CDC said: “Written notification of the licensing sub committee’s decision to grant the permanent licence is in the process of being finalised and circulated to all the parties.

“The committee carefully considered all the objections before making the decision to grant the licence.

“The new terms and conditions are similar to those that were previously in place at the same venue and allow extended opening hours on a Friday and Saturday night.”