PETITIONERS against an application to convert ten beach chalets into artist studios were left disappointed when councillors deferred a debate on the controversial proposal.
East Beach chalet tenants collected 2,446 signatures against the change of use and anticipated the council would discuss the matter at its full meeting last week. But the debate was denied, due to the potential prejudice of members of the planning committee, who will eventually decide whether to grant the application.
The initial decision was the responsibility of council member for regeneration Bryan Turner, and the Joint Strategic Committee will now reconsider the decision next month.
Gina Hawthorne, who presented the petition alongside Susan Sanders, said: “We were disappointed it was not debated, because one of the questions we asked was for it to be forwarded to the committee with the support of the full council.
“We were thrilled to get so many signatures and we hope we can make ourselves heard at the next meeting.”
Councillor Alan Rice, who wanted the debate to take place, questioned the denial.
He said: “It was news to me that it could not be debated by full council and it needs to be made clear to the public when they can bring an issue for debate.
“Petitions with 1,000 signatures or more should be debated and if necessary, the constitution should be changed.”
In response to the petitioners, Mr Turner thanked them for being ‘hard-working and interested’ in the process but said he was mindful of prejudicing planning committee members.
The application to convert the chalets has been made by Stefan Sykes, owner of Coast Café.
But the current tenants believe the chalets are unsuitable for that purpose.
Mrs Hawthorne said: “They were built for use of families and we believe they should remain available for the community.”
The matter will be debated at the next committee meeting on November 7, at the Adur Civic Centre, at 6.30pm.