POLICE BOX: Public rights extinguished
I totally agree with the News Guardian readers who questioned the need to develop the redundant police box into a pizza/ice cream parlour while expanding the footprint three-fold.
To achieve the expansion, a 66 square metre section of Seafield Greens conservation land will be lost to the public when it becomes the covered seating area and refuse bin section of the parlour.
It is my understanding that conservation area land is only given over for development if it’s strictly in the public interest, such as a school or hospital, etc, and the original police box was allowed because at that time we had bobbies on the beat.
To my knowledge, a change of use was granted for the police box, but no change of use application has been submitted to convert that section of Seafield Green conservation land from its covenanted recreational use.
The red line application site plan shows the development as effectively cutting off the bottom of the triangle so given the long-established public rights of access and rights of enjoyment of the land, I believe an application was certainly required for an extinguishment of those rights.
To make matters worse, the planning application declared there would be no requirement for any extinguishment and this was accepted by the council, which begs a question of the obligations imposed upon it by law.
The public need to have confidence in the planning process, but rules and policy appear to have been disregarded.