Eastbourne Borough Council has removed a hotel structure that was described by a government planning inspector as having a ‘degrading and harmful impact’ on the surrounding conservation area.

The council served an enforcement notice for the structure, which included raised decking and pergolas, in the front garden of the Congress Hotel, 31 to 41 Carlisle Road, to be removed in March 2022 following a case hearing. They had been built without planning permission and were deemed to be ‘detrimental’ due to ‘their size, form and poor design which is unsympathetic and incongruous within this setting’. 

The owner applied for retrospective planning permission which was declined and launched an appeal. 

In January 2023, this was dismissed by a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State who said the structure was ‘totally out of keeping with the host property and its setting and has a degrading and harmful impact on the character and appearance of the area’.

The council enforcement notice, which had been put on hold awaiting the outcome of the appeal, became active again but the hotel owner refused to fully comply. As a result, the council’s planning enforcement team has taken direct action to remove the structures and decking and a charge will be put be put on the land for the cost of this work.

Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet Member for Community Spaces, said: “Planning rules are in place for good reason, particularly in conversation areas where it is important that we protect the historic character and appearance of buildings and streets.

“Those that contravene planning rules and ignore enforcement notices, as in this case, do so at their own peril and cost, as we will take direct action to carry them out ourselves when necessary.”