Excrescences on Chailey Common

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Lewes District Council’s Planning Applications Committee has deferred determination of a retrospective application for brick piers on Chailey Common in East Sussex because it needs to investigate the matter further.

White Cottage, Chailey Common

White Cottage, Chailey Common

The planning application has been submitted by the owners of White Cottage, Haywards Heath Road, North Chailey. They erected illuminated, brick piers with their house name, on the common outside their property, without first obtaining planning consent, or consent for works on common land. We have objected.

The Director of Planning and Environmental Services recommended approval of these ugly, unlawful piers. She claimed that because they were erected on 1 December 2006, before the Commons Act 2006 took effect, they did not need the Secretary of State for Environment’s consent. But by the time the applicants sought consent, the Commons Act, which requires ministerial permission, had been introduced.

Thus we aver that the piers are unlawful works on the common, and Lewes District Council has the power to take enforcement action. We are urging it to do so.

The piers suburbanise this attractive landscape; they are pretentious and unnecessary. They are opposed by Chailey Parish Council and Chailey Common Nature Reserve Management Committee.

Says Kate Ashbrook: ‘The common is for everyone to enjoy, it’s not the private preserve of the adjoining householders. We trust the district council will uphold the public interest in the commons and will ensure that these excrescences are removed forthwith.’

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