Looking back: A frontman who has always led by example

7:00pm Friday 20th September 2013

He’s been a notorious rabblerouser in the world of rock for 40 years but Roger Daltrey has always come down from those high-octane moments on tour in the tranquillity of Sussex.

But even his relaxation time in Sussex has come with its own headaches for The Who frontman with lengthy planning battles and rows with shop traders.

In 1980 plans drawn up by Daltrey for a £2 million sports complex in Heathfield were twice knocked back by Wealden District Council.

Daltrey and his wife Heather were set to provide the majority of the funding for the complex in Sheepsetting Lane, which would feature tennis, squash and badminton courts as well as a bar and restaurant.

On both occasions the plans were knocked back because the council wanted to use the land for public open space.


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Earlier in June 1977 Daltrey succeeded in another legal fight to build a new farmhouse at Holmshurst Manor Farm near Burwash after the Department of Environment overturned Rother District Council’s planning refusal in February.

Daltrey moved into the six bedroom Holmhust Manor near Burwash in 1971 after forking out £39,000 for the property and wanted to build the new home for a farm manager to watch the estate while he was off on world tours.

In the same month the rock star was playing conserver by salvaging historic pews from soon to be bulldozed Pevensey Road Congregational Church in Eastbourne and taking them back to his home in Burwash.

A year earlier Daltrey turned political campaigner.

Holding a press conference from his Sussex farm he told the gathered press that he was adding his voice to The National Campaign for Freedom of Information.

He told reporters: “I come from a working-class background and Iam proud of it and I intend to fight for the workers’ right to know.

“We all need to know what goes on behind the scenes that is causing this country’s economic mess.

“When we have a Freedom of Information Act in this country we shall have restored our Right to Know the Truth and that will bring sanity to our tax laws.”

The multi-faceted rock star turned his hand to fashion in September 1981 when his Cheap and Cheerful fashion store opened in Western Road, Brighton.

The store irked other traders, who claimed that he was damaging local businesses by selling goods at artificially low prices.

But Daltrey was making fans smile rather than traders scowl in February last year when he performed in the intimate surroundings of the Ropetackle Art Centre in Shoreham.

The Who star joined bandmate Pete Townshend’s brother Simon with just 300 lucky audience members catching the performance.

In October 2009 fans were given the opportunity to get as close to the rock star without risking a restraining order.

Daltrey’s former personal assistant Dougie Clarke donated one of the singer’s microphones after he started chatting to fundraiser Robert Cairns during a Brighton and Hove Albion match.

Mr Clarke spent years with The Who and decided to hand the collectable item that Daltrey used in Paris in 2007 to help St Peter and St James Hospice in North Chailey, near Lewes.

The county paid its thanks to the rock star in 2002 when he was included in the launch of Brighton’s walk of fame, attending a glamorous launch event at Brighton Marina with other notables, including boxer Chris Eubank and actors Stephen Tomlinson and Victor Spinetti.

 

ON THIS DAY

 

1187: Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.

1962: James Meredith, an African-American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

1973: Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

2000: The British MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building is attacked by unapprehended forces using a Russian-built RPG-22 anti-tank missile.

2011: The United States ends its “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for
the first time.

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