Published: 00:01, 26 July 2014
A group has won an appeal against an order to remove its controversial seafront office but says it plans to move it soon anyway.
Queenborough Harbour Trust (QHT) went to the Planning Inspectorate after Swale council’s planning committee refused retrospective permission in October for its lookout on Crundells Wharf, Queenborough, to remain for three years and gave it a year to remove it.
The decision was overturned last month, which means the trust is permitted to keep the office where it is for three years from now, however, it is looking to relocate it onto a new, floating pontoon, which is to be linked to the all-tide landing.
The structure, which consists of a portable cabin on top of a shipping container, has attracted criticism from residents who have called it an “eyesore”, but the trust, which oversees mooring services in the town, says it is needed to provide contact with incoming boats and to spot if a craft is in trouble.
QHT plans to move it onto one of the three 16 metre by 20 metre pontoons, which are on their way from Portsmouth and will provide space of another 20 boats, based on an average-sized 10 metre vessel.
QHT spokesman Geof Reed said the transfer could happen within two to three weeks.
He said the lookout in its new position will not be an eyesore and added: “Instead of being one on top of the other it will be single storey. That is certainly the intention.
“Now we know we have a permanent location we can paint it to blend in with the surroundings. Functional buildings can look reasonably attractive.”
He added: “[The Planning Inspectorate] found in our favour because it was always intended to be a temporary arrangement and it would enable us to carry out our business.”
Cllr Mick Constable, of Queenborough Town Council and Swale council, said he has no objections to plans to move the office.
He said: “I think it’s a great decision to move that horrible thing off Crundells Wharf and make it more hospitable to visitors.
“It’s a good idea to move it out to the water where it will be right at the forefront of what’s going on.”
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