Beach chalet tenants are angry after losing their fight last Wednesday (December 18th) against the planning application to convert the chalets to artist studios.
Tenant Paul Doran said: “We believe that we persistently made a very strong case which has not been challenged and we have always felt , and more so now, that there was nothing we could have said that would make any difference.
“The council seemed determined to push this project through, displaying a cavalier disregard for the planning process. There was a political barrier that we just couldn’t break through. It is not all the fault of the planning committee. They were not well served by their officers who clearly had an agenda that they intended to pursue without regard to the wishes of some 2600 signatories to our petition and over 40 objections on the web.
“We may have been naive to believe that we could get a fair hearing and should perhaps have recognised the fruitlessness of objection right from the first letter in June from the planning department, which by any reading looked like the take-over of the chalets was a `done-deal`.
“And we`ve got a feeling that this is not just about additional arts studios but may have more to do with the intentions of the cafe owner/ applicant to expand his cafe business with, of course, the support of members of the council. ”
It was the second time the application was held following a deferral on November 27th. At that meeting the application was at first lost on a vote 4 to 3 but then another vote was held to defer leaving the tenants confused.
Local ward councillor David Chapman who supported the tenants throughout the campaign praised the way they had conducted themselves.
Cllr Chapman said: “The Chalet Residents put up a very spirited campaign to preserve the chalets and should be commended on that.
“However they have a good reason to complain that their case has not been treated fairly and impartially. They were denied the right of a debate in at a full Council Meeting on false grounds, the decision at the initial planning meeting was switched from being a rejection to a deferral with no adequate explanation. There was only a few days notice of the intention to resubmit the application which limited the possibility of some interested parties registering their views.
“There are still outstanding questions as to the wisdom of developing an arts area with a cycle track going through it. Overall the process does not reflect well on Worthing Borough Council democratic processes.”