Controversial tea room plans get go-ahead

PLANS to create a new tea room in the courtyard of an 18th century slaughterhouse in Rye High Street have won approval despite opposition from residents.

The plans involve creating a 40-covers tea room and making minor alterations to provide additional shop space at Elms Farm Kitchen delicatessen.

But they were being opposed by Rye Town Council who labelled it as overdevelopment which would have an adverse impact on the occupants of neighbouring properties.

Rye Conservation Society was also against the application saying it supported re-use of the buildings but not as a cafe, particularly in the courtyard, as this, they said, would cause noise and other environmental problems.

Following a site visit to the grade II listed property on Tuesday last week, June 19, members debated the scheme at Bexhill Town Hall on Thursday.

Rye district councillor Sam Souster said that in planning terms their objections were “more emotional than objective.”

He said: “The place was once a slaughterhouse, but times change. Market forces will determine whether it is a success or not.”

Cllr Souster said members were advised by the Government that “planning should operate to encourage and not act as an impediment to sustainable growth, and therefore significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the planning system.”

On this basis, refusing consent could lead to a successful appeal by the applicant, Welland Lister, although Cllr Souster, seconded by Cllr Maurice Watson,  said he felt the scheme should be deferred to sort out some finer points, such as levelling the courtyard in which 18 tea-room covers would be accommodated.

The committee felt the way forward should be to grant delegated planning approval and listed building consent, allowing officers to iron out any snags, as “overall, the scheme would benefit the tourism and vitality of Rye without causing demonstrable harm to the amenities of neighbouring properties or the established character of the vibrant town centre.”

One of the conditions is that the rear courtyard can onlt be used as a tearoom.