Knife-edge vote dashes Brighton family’s hopes of a dream home

A family’s plan for their dream home was dashed on the casting vote of the chair of the council’s Planning Committee.

Mark Knight told the committee that his family were outgrowing their small bungalow in The Park, Rottingdean.

He applied to Brighton and Hove City Council for permission to remodel the property but was unable to win round enough members of the committee.

They were told that this was his third attempt to extend the family home, with a new design described as art deco style, with curved walls and a flat roof.

Officials recommended that councillors turn down his application.

Mr Knight told the committee at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday 7 November: “The final design is amazing. It is our dream home.

“It would definitely enhance the area and start regeneration of The Park while giving us much-needed space to enjoy our family home.”

He spoke of how his wife and daughters walk to school in the morning and how they feel part of the Rottingdean community after three years living in The Park.

The circular road on the eastern side of the village has a mixture of single and two-storey homes. Many of the bungalows have roof extensions.

One of the key sticking points was the flat roof, as other homes in the road all have pitched – or pointed – roofs.

Mr Knight told the committee that the third design’s side extension was smaller than what was allowed under permitted development rights – the rights that allow changes without planning permission.

Rottingdean Coastal ward councillor Mary Mears spoke in support of the application, which was opposed by the direct neighbours but received 39 letters of support from the wider community.

Councillor Mears said: “Families are moving in and need to extend. I absolutely support this rather than building on greenfield sites.

“There is permitted development. I have concern if permitted development is done instead of this sensitive development, it will be very bulky.”

She said it ticked the right boxes for sustainability.

Fellow Rottingdean Conservative Joe Miller was concerned about the lack of a pitched roof but Councillor Miller said that art deco houses were “pepper potted” around the Rottingdean Coastal ward.

He said : “I’m voting against the officer’s recommendation on the basis it provides much-needed accommodation to a local family and sometimes people can’t afford to move.”

Green councillor Leo Littman went with the official advice to refuse the application.

He said: “I do have a great deal of sympathy for the applicants and the needs of their family but you cannot build what you want where you want.

“We must be consistent and we have turned down similar applications.”

Councillors Littman, Julie Cattell, Penny Gilbey, Carol Theobald and Alan Robins voted to refuse the application as recommended by officers.

Councillors Miller, Jayne Bennett, Emma Daniel, Lynda Hyde and Jackie O’Quinn voted to grant permission.

Councillor Cattell, as the chair of the Planning Committee, used her casting vote to refuse the application.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    Its a shame Cllr Littman didnt vote down the funding for the i360 and as for Cllr Cattell the less said the better.

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