Plan to open a tyre-fitting business at an Eastbourne shopping centre have been refused by town planners for a second time.
An application for P1 Pit Stop to build a new premises within the Langney Shopping Centre’s car park was turned down by Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (November 20).
The application came after a slightly larger scheme – which would have included a car wash – was refused by the committee in May due to concerns it introduced an industrial business to a retail area.
While recommended for approval by planning officers, the majority of committee members felt the revised scheme failed to overcome the previous reasons for refusal.
Committee chairman Jim Murray (Lib Dem. – Hampden Park) said: “The last time this came to committee it got refused on two points.
“Neither of those have changed. We’ve got exactly the same building, all they have done is take away the car wash facility which we’ve already got on site anyway.
“My personal thoughts are that this is not the right position for this unit on this site. I would ask for this to be taken away and be looked at for another position on this site, away from any residential housing.”
Before making a decision, the committee also heard representations from ward councillor Troy Tester (Lib Dem) and neighbour Graham Kifford, who spoke on behalf of a number of residents of nearby Fern Close.
Mr Kifford said: “My neighbours and I fail to see how such an insignificant change – that is the removal of a canopy from the plan – that this business is any different to which was previously refused by this committee in May.
“In fact it is no different. It is identical. It is the same tyre-fitting, the same vehicle servicing, the same noise and disruption on a daily basis.
“Surely then the same reasons for refusal must still apply.”
Cllr Tester also spoke about the potential for disruption for neighbours and argued that allowing the development to go ahead ‘would seriously affect’ the sustainability of the shopping centre by setting a planning precedent.
However these arguments were criticised by applicant Howard Forland, who said the works would not cause disruption to neighbours.
He said: “The majority of the objections have come from residents living in Fern Close, which happens to be the closest to our proposed development.
“The two points are not separated by a piece of tranquil park land or nature reserve. It is bisected by the B2191, a busy road served by at least 80 buses a day which stop directly outside the rear of gardens in Fern Close.
“None of our equipment – all of which are used within the premises – exceed 70 decibels, which is similar to noise levels emitted by a washing machine.”
He also argued the business would not carry out any extensive mechanical works, would attract more visitors to the shopping centre and would be enclosed on three sides.
Following a debate, the committee voted by five votes to two to refuse the application on the same grounds as the previous scheme – the introduction of an industrial use and by reason of its design, layout and appearance.
However, at the request of planning officers, the committee agreed to allow the developer to come forward with an alternative site within the car park.
As a result, the application will return to committee if an alternative site is found, or else be refused through delegated powers.