At the parish council meeting on 3rd July we discussed, among other things, a planning application for 1 Furnace Cottages. Nos. 1 and 2 Furnace Cottages form a semi-detached building which is accessible only on foot, with no legal or practical road access. However the building is easily visible from the public footpath which runs east-north-east from Socknersh Manor and if you don’t know it already I recommend it as a pleasant and interesting walk. Finally, I am told, this is an important archaeological site which bears direct comparison with Ashburnham Furnace which also has comparable, small buildings (also called Furnace Cottages) right in the heart of the site of a post-mediæval iron furnace and forge.
The outcome of the planning application was that Rother District Council refused permission, on the grounds that “the proposed extensions…would detract from…the cottage’s distinctive architectural and historic character.” The full details of the application and the decision can be seen here. Brightling Parish Council had put in an objection, and one of our District Councillors, Eleanor Kirby-Green, referred it to the full planning committee of Rother District Council, where it was considered and refused.
Students of planning law will note that RDC went out of their way to say that practical considerations such as emergency vehicle access, drainage problems, construction difficulties, and so on played no part in their decision. If RDC had taken these points into account then (a) they would have been in breach of planning law and (b) it would therefore have given grounds for the decision to be challenged. These practical matters are all dealt with by the Building Regulations, which are separate from planning.