Saturday, February 22, 2014
The owner of Budleigh’s Longboat Café has a clear path towards tearing it down and redeveloping it, after winning an appeal against district planners.
Brent Hushon could have got on with his plan for a modern, two-storey café in December, when a judicial review against previously approved plans was rejected by a High Court judge.
However, he chose to wait until the conclusion of an appeal he had lodged against East Devon District Council (EDDC), after it rejected an amended plan last summer.
Now, after planning inspector Wendy Burden found in his favour, Mr Hushon, who for so many years found his plans blocked time and again, now has two valid planning permissions he can pursue.
Campaigners who fought against the plans, saying the existing café is a historic Admiralty boathouse, admitted defeat after the failure of the judicial review.
In her judgement, Ms Burden said: “Whilst I understand the concerns expressed by local residents and the town council, and it is important that local views are taken into account, those views must be weighed together with all other material considerations.
“In this case there is a valid planning permission for a significantly larger replacement building. The appeal scheme is for a similar style of building of smaller scale and I have found that it would not be an intrusive or harmful feature in the AONB or in the setting of the Conservation Area, Coastal Preservation Area or World Heritage Coast.
“Furthermore, the redevelopment of the café would provide an improved facility within the gateway town on the Jurassic Coast, thus contributing to the role of the town as a tourist destination. I therefore conclude that the appeal should be allowed.”
Reacting to the decision, Councillor Phil Twiss, EDDC cabinet member for corporate services, said: “Whilst councillors are always sensitive to local representations, the planning authority must be sure that reasons for refusal are robust and defendable on appeal. In this case it is now clear that those reasons fell short of the mark and we will learn from that.
“Allowing the appeal is consistent with our previous decision for a different version of this building which was upheld by the High Court in the recent judicial review.”
An EDDC spokesman added that the cost to the council of the appeal would be minimal, as the appeal was handled via written representations.