A council decision to refuse the installation of new windows above an Eastbourne restaurant has been overturned by the planning inspectorate.
The application, which was refused by Eastbourne Borough Council earlier this year, saw developers seeking permission to replace the windows of flats above the Qualisea Fish Restaurant at the junction of Seaside Road and Terminus Road.
Planners had refused the application due to concerns over the impact of the windows (which would have contained a uPVC insert) on the character and appearance of the building and the wider conservation area.
This view was not shared by the planning inspector, however. In their written decision, the planning inspector said: “In my opinion, the qualities of the conservation area would not be reduced by the scheme before me.
“The building itself would continue to stand proud and the windows are a part of this but are not fighting with or seeking to compliment any great or subtle detailing.
“There is much activity and variety of period, scale and use at this junction and I do feel that uPVC insets here, of the sympathetic style proposed, will not catch the eye, be jarring on it, or detract from the aesthetic qualities of the area or this building.”
The inspector also said the building, while on its boundary, did not actually appear to sit within Eastbourne’s town centre and seafront conservation area.
As council documents said the building was within the conservation area, the planning inspector said this may have “skewed the decision making” of the council.
The inspector said: “I fully appreciate that one must consider the setting of a conservation area but there clearly is a difference in the way one might handle a judgement given the correct facts.”
The result of the appeal was discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday (September 24).
Officers told the committee the inspector’s decision did not appear to have any potential grounds for challenge.