Three steps to planning hell for Rottingdean couple

The Argus: The controversial steps leading up to the front door of the house in Rottingdean The controversial steps leading up to the front door of the house in Rottingdean

A couple have discovered there are three steps to planning hell – literally.

Trevor Hopper and his wife Denise have become embroiled in a bitter planning row over the steps at their Rottingdean home.

The dispute centres around three steps leading to the grade II listed building in Tudor Close.

The couple had installed a new set of steps but were refused retrospective planning permission for them.

In the latest twist to the saga, their application for a new set of steps to replace those installed was refused on Wednesday, November 21 – despite being recommended for approval by Brighton and Hove City Council planning officers. The committee spent nearly an hour debating the steps.

But councillor Lynda Hyde, the opposition spokesperson on the planning committee, said the application was important.

She added: “It might seem like a lot of time and debating spent on some steps but if you visited the site you would see it was important.

“If you start tinkering with Grade II listed buildings it will mean the status of Grade II listed will be diminished.”

Tudorbethan

Neighbours had complained the three steps are uniform in depth, which is against the original design displayed at adjacent homes, which are all of Tudorbethan style and face into a courtyard.

One wrote to the council and said: “The first step should be only one brick height, as it has been for the first 82 years of its build.

“It is obviously clear from the photograph of the original listed steps that the first step is laid face-down on its 10mm mortar unlike the proposed plan where they have the first row of brick placed on their side and then a second brick placed flat on top with 30mm of mortar.

“This means the total height of the proposed steps is a least 6in higher than the original.”

However, officers said “the character of the listed complex as a whole is significant due to its irregularity and eclectic character; which is central to its vernacular, Tudorbethan style”, with different style steps contributing to this.

The couple have been told to reinstate the original design of the steps.

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Comments (15)

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10:17am Tue 27 Nov 12

Fight_Back says...

Clearly both the neighbours and B&H Council have too much time on their hands !!!!!
Clearly both the neighbours and B&H Council have too much time on their hands !!!!! Fight_Back

10:19am Tue 27 Nov 12

Fight_Back says...

I should add that it's strange that B&H Council aren't so keen to enforce planning rules on Tesco in Church Road but when it comes to private individuals they'll come down like a tonne of bricks ( no pun intended ! ).
I should add that it's strange that B&H Council aren't so keen to enforce planning rules on Tesco in Church Road but when it comes to private individuals they'll come down like a tonne of bricks ( no pun intended ! ). Fight_Back

10:33am Tue 27 Nov 12

Tom V says...

Grade II listed rules are very strict which is made clear when you buy a property. They knew they were breaking the rules but hoped they'd get away with it. If there are mobility issues, that would be different but that isn't being reported and the house will stand out if it differs from the other, uniform properties.


I'm not surprised retrospective planning permission was refused but they would have saved time and trouble if they'd just applied and worked with the planning office before building anything.
Grade II listed rules are very strict which is made clear when you buy a property. They knew they were breaking the rules but hoped they'd get away with it. If there are mobility issues, that would be different but that isn't being reported and the house will stand out if it differs from the other, uniform properties. I'm not surprised retrospective planning permission was refused but they would have saved time and trouble if they'd just applied and worked with the planning office before building anything. Tom V

10:55am Tue 27 Nov 12

mustaphaLeeko says...

haha, rich people, you gotta love em!
haha, rich people, you gotta love em! mustaphaLeeko

10:58am Tue 27 Nov 12

Fight_Back says...

Personally I think the new steps look good - they just need some artificial ageing. We're far to blinkered when it comes to listed buildings.
Personally I think the new steps look good - they just need some artificial ageing. We're far to blinkered when it comes to listed buildings. Fight_Back

11:03am Tue 27 Nov 12

Ballroom Blitz says...

Argus.. Please find out how much money this pointless argument has cost the taxpayer.
Argus.. Please find out how much money this pointless argument has cost the taxpayer. Ballroom Blitz

11:03am Tue 27 Nov 12

Ballroom Blitz says...

Argus.. Please find out how much money this pointless argument has cost the taxpayer.
Argus.. Please find out how much money this pointless argument has cost the taxpayer. Ballroom Blitz

11:13am Tue 27 Nov 12

mark by the sea says...

Fight_Back wrote:
I should add that it's strange that B&H Council aren't so keen to enforce planning rules on Tesco in Church Road but when it comes to private individuals they'll come down like a tonne of bricks ( no pun intended ! ).
Your absolutely right, why has tesco been allowed to flout the law? Under some idea they have lawyers the council can't pin down. The argus should ask the planning dept why the windows have not been put back in.
[quote][p][bold]Fight_Back[/bold] wrote: I should add that it's strange that B&H Council aren't so keen to enforce planning rules on Tesco in Church Road but when it comes to private individuals they'll come down like a tonne of bricks ( no pun intended ! ).[/p][/quote]Your absolutely right, why has tesco been allowed to flout the law? Under some idea they have lawyers the council can't pin down. The argus should ask the planning dept why the windows have not been put back in. mark by the sea

11:25am Tue 27 Nov 12

leobrighton says...

There clearly distinctive and stand out from the rest of the building. Any alterations should fit in. These types of properties are rare and should be preserved in the original style. Enforcing this is one of the few things that local councils are good for
There clearly distinctive and stand out from the rest of the building. Any alterations should fit in. These types of properties are rare and should be preserved in the original style. Enforcing this is one of the few things that local councils are good for leobrighton

11:27am Tue 27 Nov 12

Hove Actually says...

Uniform steps would be better suited to walking up so I am surprised that they didn't claim they were acting to improve access for the disabled etc
Uniform steps would be better suited to walking up so I am surprised that they didn't claim they were acting to improve access for the disabled etc Hove Actually

12:31pm Tue 27 Nov 12

shining star says...

I hope that B & H Council will be just as forceful when it comes to the old Astoria Cinema in Brighton. This is a lovely Art Deco building and the interior is or was beautiful, I know, I worked there in the 70's when it was a cinema. It has been sealed up and allowed to rot away. No doubt any owner will want planning permission to convert to something that will ruin the beautiful design of this building. This being a listed property it too will require such stringent protection. I hope 'money doesn't talk' and it's allowed to deteriorate to the point of demolition, before it's brought back to life.
I hope that B & H Council will be just as forceful when it comes to the old Astoria Cinema in Brighton. This is a lovely Art Deco building and the interior is or was beautiful, I know, I worked there in the 70's when it was a cinema. It has been sealed up and allowed to rot away. No doubt any owner will want planning permission to convert to something that will ruin the beautiful design of this building. This being a listed property it too will require such stringent protection. I hope 'money doesn't talk' and it's allowed to deteriorate to the point of demolition, before it's brought back to life. shining star

5:54pm Tue 27 Nov 12

steamytrains says...

Anyone familiar with the charm of Tudor Close would be horrified to see how the newly built steps have altered the charm of the place. Rebuilding them to the original design is the only way to restore the previous harmony of the Courtyard.
Anyone familiar with the charm of Tudor Close would be horrified to see how the newly built steps have altered the charm of the place. Rebuilding them to the original design is the only way to restore the previous harmony of the Courtyard. steamytrains

8:41pm Tue 27 Nov 12

BenUk says...

the steps look better before the changed it now it doesn't look right with the rest of the house, nice house by the way just shame about the steps.
the steps look better before the changed it now it doesn't look right with the rest of the house, nice house by the way just shame about the steps. BenUk

6:46pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Calendar Girl says...

Sorry Argus but many facts in your report are incorrect. I know this Tudor Close & the photo showing old steps is at number 3 which are nothing like the original steps at number 4 the house in question! Also the total rise has NOT been increased by 6" as claimed but in fact 1.5". The new design is for old reclaimed bricks but with equal risers as stated in the Health & Safety building regulations. Both the Heritage & Planning Officers have recommended 'GRANT' to the present application which they stated in their professional opinions was not harmful to the look of Tudor Close.
The "harm" in this case only comes from what seems to be the querulous neighbours with nothing else but time on their hands.
Sorry Argus but many facts in your report are incorrect. I know this Tudor Close & the photo showing old steps is at number 3 which are nothing like the original steps at number 4 the house in question! Also the total rise has NOT been increased by 6" as claimed but in fact 1.5". The new design is for old reclaimed bricks but with equal risers as stated in the Health & Safety building regulations. Both the Heritage & Planning Officers have recommended 'GRANT' to the present application which they stated in their professional opinions was not harmful to the look of Tudor Close. The "harm" in this case only comes from what seems to be the querulous neighbours with nothing else but time on their hands. Calendar Girl

8:59pm Wed 28 Nov 12

paverman says...

What's the problem with the plans then. If I built the steps like the councillors want then the planners would make me rebuild them with an even rise. If the council owned steps with an uneven rise they would probably have to stop people using them cos they are dangerous. Have the councillors got nothing better to do? Same for the neighbours - it must be hell living in rottingdean with people like that.
What's the problem with the plans then. If I built the steps like the councillors want then the planners would make me rebuild them with an even rise. If the council owned steps with an uneven rise they would probably have to stop people using them cos they are dangerous. Have the councillors got nothing better to do? Same for the neighbours - it must be hell living in rottingdean with people like that. paverman

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