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Developers’ battle to build at Grouville seaside site continues

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THE impact of an underground car park on a 19th-century fisherman’s cottage in Grouville dominated the first session of a planning appeal heard on Thursday by an independent UK inspector.

Keppel Tower is integral to the plans

Sue Bell was hearing an appeal brought by Sea View Investments Ltd, which has applied on three different occasions over the past seven years to build homes on land surrounding Keppel Tower between Seymour and Le Hurel slips.

The first two applications were approved, but on both occasions nearby resident Mary Herold (88) had her appeals against the plans upheld by the Royal Court.

On Thursday, the applicant asked for a decision by the Planning Committee made in September last year – to refuse a revised set of plans for three three-bedroom houses and 11 flats in three blocks with underground parking – to be overturned.

The scheme had been rejected for being an over-development of the site and for having an adverse impact on the surrounding area, despite planning officers recommending that the proposals should be approved.

Planning’s principal historic environment adviser, Tracey Ingle, argued on Thursday that the development would not enhance the surrounding area, and said that it would have ‘an adverse effect’ on Cyprus House, a historic cottage and listed building.

Speaking for the applicant, a consultant from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), Mark Strawbridge, said that any effects on the area would be offset by the benefits of restoring the nearby Conway tower to its original condition as part of the scheme.

Although planning officers had supported the last application, Miss Ingle had not. She argued that the entrance to the underground car park from Grande Route de Sablons would have an adverse impact on Cyprus House.

Questioned about her opinion a number of times by Ms Bell, she stood firm.

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‘I had and still have concerns about the visibility splays of the new entrance,’ she said.

‘I still hold that it is not an enhancement to Cyprus House.’

Mr Strawbridge, lead consultant of built heritage at MOLA, which has assisted with the applications, did not agree.

‘Any impact on Cyprus House would be offset by the work to restore Keppel Tower,’ he said.

Ian Marett, of Morris Architects, the firm behind the scheme, had earlier explained that Keppel Tower would be restored to a standalone structure by demolishing buildings around it, which would also restore sea views from the main road. It would also be open to the public twice a year, he said. Ms Bell is expected to deliver her findings next month. The final decision on the appeal will be made by Environment Minister Steve Luce.

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