A DEVELOPER’S bid to replace an historic thatched cottage in Ferring with an apartment block has come under fire from Ferring Conservation Group.
Planning permission for four chalet bungalows has already been granted at the site known as The Beehive, in Beehive Lane, but developer Globe Estates (Southern) Ltd described its new plan as ‘seeking a fresh approach’.
The proposal consists of ten two-bedroom apartments in an art-deco style L-shaped block and includes eleven car parking spaces located in the north-east of the site.
David Bettiss, chairman of Ferring Conservation Group, said: “It is an outrage – we knew there was a plan already for four chalet bungalows and we were having to get used to that idea but ten apartments, in a block that covers the whole site, is really gross overdevelopment and shows no regard for the character of Ferring.”
Mr Bettiss also cited increased traffic congestion and road safety hazards as reasons to reject the proposal, and said the group would encourage each of its 900 members to submit an objection to Arun District Council.
But Tony Harrison, managing director of Globe Estates (Southern) Ltd, said the development was an opportunity to address a shortfall in housing delivery in Ferring.
It is an outrage...David Bettiss, chairman of Ferring Conservation Group
He said: “We placed great weight on the Ferring Neighbourhood Plan when considering our proposals for the site and the fact the parish council was unanimous in backing the plan.
“We consider that it is an important ‘windfall’ site within the defined built up area with new homes proposed to be built on previously used land.
“Throughout the plan it is clearly demonstrated there is ‘a clear demand from older households within the parish to ‘downsize’ to smaller, open market dwellings’ and ‘This type of housing has not often been delivered by windfall sites in the village in the recent past’. By providing ten two-bedroom dwellings in the heart of South Ferring our proposals go someway to meeting this demand.”
The cottage dates back to the 1920s and was given its name because of its shape and thatched roof.
Ed Miller, secretary of Ferring History Group, said The Beehive had been the centrepiece of many postcards and it is believed Edward VIII slept there.
“It’s bad enough that we should lose the cottage but to have it replaced by an apartment block is really too much,” said Mr Miller. “Our members will certainly fight this application.”
The developer’s proposal said the proposal met the plan’s objectives: providing well-designed housing, on previously used land and of the type and tenure to meet local demand.
But Carole Robertson, chairman of Ferring Parish Council, has moved to distance the council from the developer, whom, she says, has not been in contact.
Mrs Robertson said: “We have said we will be looking for the remainder of the houses to be on brownfield sites, that is fair comment, but not a monstrous block of flats like that.
“I’m confident there will be a large number of objections. I have had a queue of people at the office this morning ranting and raving about the plans.
“They (the developer) have not spoken to us. They have not contacted us in any way. I’m extremely annoyed that they are misrepresenting us in that way.”
The consultation period is due to end on September 3 and a decision will be made by October 15. Feedback can be sent via www.arun.gov.uk
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