RESIDENTS say they have been kept in the dark over plans to knock down a cafe and replace it with a new tea room.

Permission has been granted to replace Hove Park café with a larger, modern building, known as the Pavilion Tea House.

But the city council’s consultation process on planning applications has been called into question after some Hove residents said they had not heard about the plans until it was too late.

Bonny Holland, 59, whose home overlooks Hove Park, said: “While I am not necessarily opposed to the new cafe, I feel local residents should have been properly consulted.

“I only found out about it on social media, once the plans had been approved.

“It would have been nice for there to have been some community dialogue. Why did nobody ask me?”

Mrs Holland told The Argus, she had learned about the cafe on Twitter and it took her “several hours” to locate the relevant documents on the council’s website.

She said: “When I did find it, I was amazed to discover there were more than 120 documents on the subject that I’d never seen.

“I would have liked the time to have sat down and read them all before any decision was made.”

Her original post on Facebook said: “I was quite surprised to hear last week that planning permission has been granted for the development of Hove Park Cafe.

“As my home overlooks the cafe, I would have expected to at least have received a statutory notice.

“I am told that there is no appeal against the decision, however I do not believe that the correct process has been followed here.”

Signs about the redevelopment – described as a “Japanese inspired, low-carbon building, mainly constructed of timber and glass”– were displayed inside the cafe.

Koru Architects director Mark Pellant said: “We had information boards on display at the cafe over several days and were there ourselves over a weekend to speak to locals and visitors and answer questions and queries.

“We spoke to literally hundreds of people, most of who had very positive comments.”

Vanessa Brown, councillor for Hove Park Ward: “I have spoken with the planning office and there has been a lot of support for this and very little opposition,

although it seems many local residents didn’t know about it.

“I haven’t had any letters about it at all which is very unusual.

“Notices were displayed in the cafe and on the Old Shoreham Road side of the park, which fulfils the council’s legal obligation.”