Published: 09:03, 05 March 2020
| Updated: 09:04, 05 March 2020
Proposals for a controversial development of shops and flats in Whitstable has been shot down by councillors - despite being recommended for approval by planning officers.
Branded a "bulky, unsympathetically designed blob", designs for a four-storey complex consisting of two shops and seven apartments were submitted by Sea Street Development Ltd - which is headed by Whitstable Oyster Company boss James Green.
The firm hoped to construct the building on the Hotel Continental's overspill car park, known as the Arcade Site, at the corner of Tower Parade and Beach Walk, insisting the project would "enhance an important area" despite backlash.
But plans were ill-received by residents, who highlighted concerns over pollution and parking, and fears of views being "obliterated".
These worries were backed by the Whitstable Society, who demanded the application be refused due to the planned height of the building.
With 25 objections received, proposals went before the city council's planning committee on Tuesday evening - and councillors decided to go against the recommendation to rubber-stamp the development, and instead rejected the application.
City councillor Neil Baker (Con), who represents Tankerton ward, withdrew himself from the vote after airing his concerns about the development, which would have created eight jobs.
He disapproved of the black-boarded cladding design of the building.
"While it was clear members of the planning committee accepted there was a case for a development on this site, I was glad they decided this application was not suitable for this location," he told the Gazette. "It was too large and out-of-keeping with other local buildings.
"It was particularly pleasing that members agreed that while the black weatherboard look may be appropriate to the west of the harbour, this site abuts the Tankerton-on-Sea conservation area where design and styles are different."
Cllr Baker says, however, any fresh bid for a different scheme on the site will "of course be judged on its merits".
"But I hope any such application will be more sympathetic to the Tankerton-on-Sea style," he added.
"Such as that of the nearby Wynn Ellis Almshouses, properties on Tower Hill and the Castle Gatehouse, or at least don't overpower the impact of the latter."