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.”


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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