Wealden council Chair faces planning investigation

Barby Dashwood-Morris will not stand for a second year as chairman of Wealden District Council SUS-151229-145124001
Barby Dashwood-Morris will not stand for a second year as chairman of Wealden District Council SUS-151229-145124001

The Chair of Wealden District Council will not stand for a second year as she is under investigation for breaching planning rules while renovating her Listed home.

The council confirmed Chiddingly and East Hoathly councillor Barby Dashwood-Morris will not stand for a second year as Chair as she faces an ongoing inquiry by its planning service.

The service is looking into claims she breached planning rules while renovating her 14th century home in Hellingly.

A spokesman for Wealden District Council said, “Councillor Barby Dashwood-Morris has decided not to stand for a second year as Chairman of Wealden District Council. She will continue to serve as a district councillor.

“Her decision has been made in order to deal with an ongoing inquiry by the council’s planning service about a possible infringement of the planning rules relating to her property.

“Council Leader Bob Standley thanked Cllr Dashwood-Morris for her contribution as Chairman over the past year.”

In 2013 Ms Dashwood Morris, who was then Chair of the council’s planning south committee, appeared on Channel 4 show Double Your House for Half the Money.

The show focused on renovations she had made to her historic cottage known as The Priest House.

Speaking at the time she said, “Although not a professional I do ‘dabble’ and was responsible for all the design ideas throughout the house and it was a huge compliment to know others thought it was worth filming,

“Because The Priest House is more than 600 hundred years old and Listed, I worked closely with Wealden District Council Conservation Department to ensure all the plans met with their approval.

“I started by commissioning an archaeological/historical report that gave the details of the changes made over the years.

“This gave a clear insight into what was precious and needed to be preserved and those areas that had little merit so could be altered or removed.

“Renovating a home of this age means finding and using a lot of craftsmen to undertake many rare and often forgotten skills and understandably that costs money.

“So to keep to the budget I worked with a number of wonderful Sussex specialists who taught me some of their skills and I undertook many of the more labour intensive tasks myself.

“The entire project took more than 10 years as I worked on one room at a time and after what seemed to be a lifetime the house was complete.

“I have learned so much and the finished house is an example of how to turn an ancient Sussex Hall House into a home that meets all the comforts of modern living.”

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