Queenborough Harbour Trust's office, Crundells Wharf, Queenborough
A row over a controversial seafront office rumbles on after an appeal was issued against its removal.
Swale council’s planning committee went against officers’ recommendation of temporary permission for three years and instead gave Queenborough Harbour Trust (QHT) 12 months to remove its look-out.
The decision followed a site meeting at Crundells Wharf in July.
QHT, which oversees the moorings in the town, had applied for retrospective planning permission after it was put up last December.
Many residents condemned it as an eyesore and said it was not in keeping with the town’s historic character.
The trust has gone to the government’s planning inspectorate in the hope of overturning the council’s decision so it might keep the office for longer until an alternative can be found.
A statement on the group’s Facebook page says: “We have lodged this appeal so we can provide a better service to the mooring holders and promote the use of Queenborough harbour with regulars and visitors.”
It goes on to say the facility is only temporary, it provides contact with incoming boats and it benefits the community by attracting more people and investment to the seafront.
Mayor of Queenborough, Sue Simpson, said she was “very disappointed” with the decision.
She said: “It’s an eyesore and there are lots of people that have complained. I thought it was made quite clear at the site meeting that people do not want it there.”
“We support the harbour trust 99% of the time but on this thing we do not.”
Spokesman for QHT, Geof Reed, said: “We will go with what Swale Borough Council professional planners said, that we should be given the opportunity for three years. It’s not an attractive building but it’s acceptable as a temporary solution.”
He added the toilet block in nearby Elephant Park was being looked at as a permanent location for a look-out in the long term.
A planning inspectorate spokesman said no date had been fixed for a decision but estimated it could take about three months.
Anyone who would like to comment can email the planning inspectorate on firstname.lastname@example.org and quote reference APPA/2255/C/13/2204432 by Tuesday.