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HS/FA/21/00712 | Erection of two to three storey detached dwelling (revision to HS/FA/17/00468) (part retrospective) | Land rear of 23, Martineau Lane, Hastings, TN35 5DS
  • Total Consulted: 81
  • Comments Received: 81
  • Objections: 50
  • Supporting: 30
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Mrs Lynne Okines

Comment submitted date: Mon 30 Aug 2021

Please see documents tab.

Comment submitted date: Fri 05 Nov 2021

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Mr Bernard McGinley

Comment submitted date: Mon 06 Sep 2021

Please see documents tab.

Comment submitted date: Fri 10 Sep 2021

Mr Pocknell presents no argument and little detail. HS/FA/09/00240, the 'chalet bungalow', was approved in June 2009. With planning permission granted, who's to say the proposal was 'too close' to Mill Lane? Didn't he get what he wanted? Apparently not, given the slew of dubious applications and unauthorised expansions that followed.

Application 468 was also later approved, and the objections often point out the many many ways in which that permission has been breached. (For instance: the retaining wall is in the AONB and does not have permission. Nor do the lower windows. Nor do the RH steps.) Why do the owners | developers treat planning policy and decisions as an optional extra? The refusals and failed appeals are mounting up. Today ESCC's SUDS objection to the inadequate drainage methodology was published.

Old petitions and Cllrs' remarks are not the issue.

Saying that OBJECTORS disregard Planning Approval is truly rich. Other than whinge [but where?], how can they? For developers on the other hand . . .

Comment submitted date: Fri 17 Sep 2021

The statements in support of this application tend to have:

a) a full lack of any engagement with planning law and policy

b) an abundance of irrelevant personal information that should have been %redacted% or redacted

c) profuse praise for the building (while disregarding issues such as materials substitution)

d) a consensus that there has been a 'witch hunt'. The mentions of 'slanderous allegations', 'personal slurs', 'vitriolic character destruction', 'hounding this developer' and so on, are not substantiated by the record.

The deemed 'witch hunt' serves usefully to detract from the point at issue. Planning permission was for HS/FA/17/00468. HS/FA/17/00468 was not built. TWO other attempts to obtain permission were rejected by the Council, for clear reasons. The blingy mansion as built does not have planning permission, and is an insult both to the AONB and to planning procedure.

The developer's recent document stating that 'the approval of hard landscaping remains valid' is very misleading. HS/CD/18/00197 ('Discharge of Conditions: 3 (Hard Landscaping), 4 (Soft Landscaping) . . . ') was superseded (in a different landscape) two years later by HS/CD/20/00214 ('Discharge of conditions 3 (hard landscaping) and 4 (soft landscaping) of Planning Permission HS/FA/17/00468'), that he appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and lost. The developer knows %redacted%.

The 'games room' expansion was a sneaky abuse of the planning system. Excavation of the hillside without permission was also an abuse of the system and the AONB.

A front built with temporarily-bricked windows is classic 'rogue developer' behaviour by %redacted%. Repeated failure to build what there was permission for, and build something else instead, is also beyond peculiar.

Among many issues, the retaining wall was never approved. It intrudes into the AONB and does not have planning permission.

The history of this site is persistently one of do-what-you-like, in the expectation that the approval will eventually follow. This is not good enough.

A recent article in the Hastings Online Times discusses the issues more fully.

Comment submitted date: Thu 23 Sep 2021

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Comment submitted date: Tue 05 Oct 2021

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Comment submitted date: Wed 03 Nov 2021

1. In previous objections (including correspondence with the senior planning officer whose case this is), I drew attention to this development's retaining wall as a breach of Section 5 of the Hastings Borough Council Act 1988, an offence.

2. The committee report does not mention this aspect, which is careless even by HBC standards.

3. The retaining wall was built without permission.

4. Additionally the wall is in the AONB without permission.

5. The suggestion is laughable in the report's Section 5 d) on permission HS/FA/17/00468:
show[ing] the dwelling 'dug' into the surrounding ground, to help reduce the impact on the adjacent hill, which is part of the High Weald AONB.

I could have sworn it was dug in to create the games room, with no regard for the AONB. The disguised lightly-bricked windows show this. This application for retrospective permission for the windows is compromised by this underhandedness (as well as the other factors).

6. Why does the developer now seek permission for a 'games room' when the planning department had supposedly already given permission to remove the bank to instal it? This is preposterous.

7. Section 5 d) is not persuasive and especially not the statement that 'another refusal on this matter cannot be justified'? Of course it can. The wall is in the AONB without permission. This is a developer whose regard for planning procedures is persistently scant at best. Refusal on the grounds that the works
(1) detract from the visual appearance of the area and fail to protect the AONB
is as valid as ever.

8. The 'parking' explanation on 'why the removal of the bank was necessary' is entirely unpersuasive. Parking arrangements were already settled. The motivation was ulterior. It is diversionary argument that 'the line of the driveway had to be altered to enable cars to safely and easily manoeuvre in and out of the site'. It did not. It was a Trojan Horse, and the planners fell for it.

9. The interpretation of HS/CD/18/00197 is untenable, and cannot take the weight being placed on it. Excavation is nowhere mentioned it seems. Drawing 1634/LS1 does not show the retaining wall, so why was it built? (Where is the 'close boarded fencing' twice mentioned there as a proposal?)

10. The report also manages not to report other serious concerns raised by objectors, such as that a discharge of conditions application is not a vehicle for deciding major alterations. In appeal decision 3271702 (filed with HS/CD/20/00214), the Planning Inspector was clear about the unsuitability of a discharge of conditions application for deciding landscaping matters. The Council's response to HS/FA/17/00468 confirmed this: 'the proposed changes too significant to be assessed under a discharge of condition application' (Section 5 b)). The mention nearby of 'hard landscaping plan' for HS/CD/18/00197 is seriously misleading. The only 'plans' there among the 10 documents are the Southern Water Plan, and the Drainage Drawings and Site Plan. (The 'Junction Improvement', and 'Visibility Slays' are maps relating to offsite.)

The Landscape and External Details (Drawing 1634/LS1) is a plan of sorts but has no text regarding details of proposals, just occasional and unreliable captions. Why does HS/CD/18/00197 not have a clear statement of its proposals? Even the Application Form just refers to the drawing ' showing details of hard and soft landscaping', which it doesn't much.

11. In the same application there are no terms such as 'remove the banked area from the front', or approximating to them. The excavations were patently not 'in accordance with the hard landscaping details show under application HS/CD/18/00197' [Section 5 d), also 5 b)] as those details do not include it, are not shown.

12. Application HS/CD/18/00197 has no elevation or cross-section of the hillside (that includes the void become games room become habitable room). How can this be compatible with HBC good practice? Counsel's opinion on HS/CD/18/00197 should be published if it's so clear and in such accord with the other side, not kept secret. Has it even been disclosed to the Committee?

13. Also, planning permission for HS/FA/17/00468 might have elapsed after three years from October 2017, as it was not built, not conformed with. In that case the discharges are inapplicable.

14. The 'possible fallback position' is tenuous in the extreme, because HS/CD/18/00197 does not include mention of excavations nor site stability.

The only difference between the present application and HS/FA/20/00884 (roundly rejected in April) seems to be the foliage prescribed as screening. Condition 6 in this live case should stipulate figleafs.

15. Before that there was HS/FA/18/00267, also rejected, by the officers under delegated authority, to their credit. Apart from the clandestine attempted expansion 'increased by around 15%' (Section 5 b)), there was the accurate verdict:
This proposal to visually 'cut' into the bank and thereby create the appearance of a larger, more urban scale dwelling over three floors on the northern elevation is not considered to be appropriate in this sensitive location at the edge of the AONB. (Section 5 b).)

16. Section 5 l)'s assertion that
the need to deliver housing adds further weight in favour of granting planning permission
is less than credible. How many blingy mansions does Hastings & St Leonards need at present? Should existing ones be treated better?

17. The postponement of enforcement action till after an appeal (if any) is disreputable.

18. Please refuse this case again: go for the hat-trick. The Planning Committee should show that they are not the creatures of the officers, or the developers. As elected representatives you can do that, and it would be the right decision.

Mr Christopher Hurrell

Comment submitted date: Tue 07 Sep 2021

Please see documents tab.

Comment submitted date: Wed 08 Sep 2021

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Comment submitted date: Wed 03 Nov 2021

The report to committee recommends approval of this application.

In doing so the report studiously ignores or brushes over all issues raised by the previous Planning Committee decision and objectors.

Where does the report address the point raised by objectors that the 2017 application is no longer extant as it was never built to the approved plans?

Where does the report address the fact that the developer has persistently failed to conform to approved plans?

Where is a response to the fact that the retaining wall is in breach of the HBC 1988 act?

The fact remains that this application is near identical to the previous application refused by the planning committee - the only difference being an attempt to mitigate the impact of the unauthorised building with soft landscaping measures that will never work.

The report gives great weight to the discharge application and claims that this application gave permission for the changes to the slope profile and the use of the void area as a games room. This is based on a barristers report which has not been released into the public domain.

Discharge applications cannot make significant changes to approved plans. This was confirmed by the appeal refusal which stated the changes were too great to be dealt with as a discharge.

The discharge application only covered soft and hard landscaping and does not in anyway authorise the excavation of the void and the building of the games room.
Furthermore the plans falsely claimed to be approved by the discharge have themselves been breached by the applicant - the development as built does not conform to the plans.

This development has a long history of breaching the original permission , breaching conditions and ignoring the refusal of the 2018 application.

The report to committee ignores the decision of the planning committee. The report explicitly states that Planning will not take enforcement action. In doing so the unelected officers yet again undermine the decision of our elected representatives.

If the planning committee approves this application it will undermine the previous decision and will destroy the credibility of the Planning System.

Approval will send a signal to all rogue developers that here in Hastings they can do whatever they like regardless of regulations and in flagrant breach of their permissions.

If approved one has to ask what point is there in our Planning System, Planning Committee and Planning Department? We may as well pack our bags and let developers do whatever they want , whenever they want.

A line in the sand must be drawn. The application must be refused and enforcement action taken. Anything less will fly the white flag of surrender to rogue developments.

The application has already been refused twice. Please remain consistent and refuse this application again.

Mr Christopher Coombes

Comment submitted date: Fri 10 Sep 2021

Please see documents tab.

Comment submitted date: Tue 14 Sep 2021

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Comment submitted date: Wed 06 Oct 2021

Please see documents tab.

Miss Nicola Boulter

Comment submitted date: Mon 20 Sep 2021

To the Chair of the Planning Committee and its members.

I wish you to note that I fully support this application and ask you to grant the full planning permission as soon as possible.
I have lived and worked with my family in Martineau lane for 21 years and I fully support this build and cannot understand the upset surrounding it. This will make a wonderful family home for someone wanting a well built house. The house in question has been built in a professional way and it looks like only the best materials were used.
In order to understand the objections I have visited the site and looked at all the documents issued by the planning office and I can see that the builder has complied with every request that you the planning committee has asked for. In fact the house is well built and is an aesthetically pleasing addition to the Martineau Lane area. It does not strike me as overbearing or inappropriately sized." The Steps and the window and the removal of the bank of earth does not cause harm to anyone in Martineau lane or the community. It's reduced fly tipping an eye sore to the area for the residents. Plus the drainage has been overhauled in Mill lane making it better and safer for the residents. Water runoff from here was always a problem to local road users.
In fact I'd say that on seeing the property you can understand fully the situation surrounding this house, the amendments that were asked for by planning and how it does improve the community it sits in. Papers alone don't show the full situation. From the house you can't see any of the objector's properties or land and it's the immediate neighbour's views that should really count. I think you would agree? Others have opinions but are not affected by the outcomes.
Finally I would like to say that whilst reading material in this application I came across objection comments containing personal slurs against Mr Pocknell his company and family. These are defamatory in nature. They are very upsetting to his family and totally inaccurate and damaging to his business and only seem to hinder the democratic planning process. Whilst I understand that planning applications can be controversial I Know some of these objectors and I know that some of these people, are more reasonable than they are portraying themselves at present. I would like to ask them to look carefully at their own actions and consider what they are trying to achieve from delaying this legal and due process . Planning has been granted, the house is going nowhere, you are objecting to amendments made by the council's planning committee.
Muck throwing, lying, slander, and shouting louder and making personal comments about individuals aren't going to alter this. I ask therefore for the planning to be granted as per the law of this land and the madness to cease.

Mrs Sarah Allison

Comment submitted date: Fri 17 Sep 2021

I fully support this build and cannot understand the negativity surrounding it. This will make a wonderful home for a family wanting a well built house.
I echo David Kowitz's comments "The home should be granted planning permission without further delays. It seems to me that none of the objections being raised cause any real damage to the community. I don't see that the views from the designated AONB areas are compromised in any meaningful way, especially as public access ways from the AONB are at a considerable distance from the house, with trees and other screening concealing the property. I also cannot see how the addition of steps around the side of the building, and a modest amount of additional patio space at the rear, is aesthetically objectionable or causes harm to anyone in the neighborhood. The additional interior space in the house, which seems to have become available because of an engineering solution to the foundation on the grade of the site, does not affect the outer dimensions of the house, and therefore seems to me to not be relevant to the interests of the community - in other words, I can't see how it's anyone's business. Finally, as an overall comment, I find the house to be well built and an aesthetically pleasing addition to the Martineau Lane area. It does not strike me as overbearing or inappropriately sized."
Good luck Mr Pocknell!

R Pollard

Comment submitted date: Thu 16 Sep 2021

Support - please see comments

Mr Darren Griffiths

Comment submitted date: Thu 16 Sep 2021

I wish to support this application.
I was one or the builders on this project. It is one of the best organised builds I have ever worked on.
The house in question was built in a professional way and only the best materials was used.
It may not be everyones choice of design but, as a team we worked with the applicant (who is a well respected builder) to produce what I think is a very good house.
It was not easy at times as I was verbally abused by one of the objectors.

Mr David Kowitz

Comment submitted date: Wed 15 Sep 2021

My family and I have been resident at Fairlight Hall for the last 17 years and have been active supporters of arts and environmental causes of the community, as well as significant investors in multiple businesses in the area. As such I consider that we have a strong interest in the aesthetic, architectural, and economic well being of our neighborhood. I am aware of the controversy surrounding this newbuild house, and I recently spent some time on the site to understand those issues. Following that visit, and consultations with some qualified individuals in the building trade, I believe that the controversy is basically a tempest in a teapot, and that the home should be granted planning permission without further delays. It seems to me that none of the objections being raised cause any real damage to the community. I don't see that the views from the designated AONB areas are compromised in any meaningful way, especially as public access ways from the AONB are at a considerable distance from the house, with trees and other screening concealing the property. I also cannot see how the addition of steps around the side of the building, and a modest amount of additional patio space at the rear, is aesthetically objectionable or causes harm to anyone in the neighborhood. The additional interior space in the house, which seems to have become available because of an engineering solution to the foundation on the grade of the site, does not affect the outer dimensions of the house, and therefore seems to me to not be relevant to the interests of the community - in other words, I can't see how it's anyone's business. Finally, as an overall comment, I find the house to be well built and an aesthetically pleasing addition to the Martineau Lane area. It does not strike me as overbearing or inappropriately sized. All newbuilds, before shrubbery, trees and the like have time to bed in and grow, have a slightly stark look - perhaps the developer could be compelled to do a bit more planting as well to soften the site while the plantings mature.

Mr Roger Brightiff

Comment submitted date: Wed 15 Sep 2021

Ref: HS/FA/21/00712



Hastings Planning Department,


I am acquainted with the applicant and having visited the site and read the documents available online and those held personally by Mr Pocknell, I am compelled to make this statement in support of this application.


The reason for refusal of the previous application references the recontouring and change in scale to the Northern boundary. This change comprises of approximately an additional 500mm sloping to nothing of brickwork being exposed at the base of a small part of the Northern flank wall. It cannot be seen from any vantage point other than standing in the courtyard within the boundaries of the site. It cannot be seen from Mill Lane nor from any part of the adjacent AONB. Even though this change does not provide any visual impairment to others this application addresses it by providing further planting to this area which brings the visual aspect back in line with the original approved application. In any case I understand all issues regarding the Northern flank of the building are now concluded so I do not believe this is actually relevant at this time.


Whilst I understand the application has been subject to some changes in design and has attracted some objections I do find the time and resources used to date in dealing with this matter to be burdensome to both parties especially when such strain exists already within the system. This application provides a practical solution which can be achieved quickly and I believe should be granted planning permission in its existing form.


Finally whilst reading material in this application I came across objection comments containing personal slurs against Mr Pocknell and his company which are defamatory in nature. They are upsetting to his family and staff, damaging to his business and only hinder the planning process.

Whilst I understand that planning applications can heighten emotions I ask fellow citizens who take an important interest in the planning system to constrain themselves from making personal comments about individuals.


Yours Faithfully



R D Brightiff

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