Hove Rugby Club's extension given the go ahead
Angry neighbours were left frustrated as plans for an extension to Hove Rugby Club's building were approved.
Two people who live in neighbouring Shirley Drive went along to the meeting but were left frustrated as they were not allowed to speak against the application.
Neighbours sent 14 letters opposing the plans to build more changing rooms and a meeting room at the back and side of the rugby club building – and a roof terrace.
More toilets would be included in the scheme as well as storerooms.
Concerns were raised about the consultation process as residents attending the meeting said that they were not told about what was happening.
Council officers confirmed that the proper procedures were followed. However, residents said that only three neighbours received a letter.
After the meeting one neighbour, who did not want to be named, said that they did not know that the application was being considered by the committee until reading about it in the press.
By the time they applied to speak it was too late.
He said: “Most of the noise is from events. The noise is such we can hear the music when our TV is on, with the bass sound coming down the chimney.”
Another neighbour, who asked to be known as Maria, said that she was one of very few people who were notified about the plans.
After sending in her letter of objection she said that she was not aware that she had to do anything else to be allowed to speak at the meeting.
She said: “The normal procedure is putting a notice in the town hall. We have… notified the council of our objections but no one came back to me. All it says on the website is it is waiting for a decision.
“Their procedures need to be more transparent as you wouldn’t know unless you’re familiar.”
She said: “It seems to be an events and party place. Their sign says it’s more than a rugby club – and it is a party in the park or a pub in the park.”
Councillors raised concerns about the roof terrace, particularly regarding access to prevent anti-social behaviour and drug use overnight.
Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn said: “I remember when this was built and the kind of objections from residents at how big that was.
“I think what residents are concerned about is light.”
She also pointed out she regularly walks in the park and found many residents who knew nothing about the application.
The planning committee voted to approve the application.
They said that the terrace could be used only between 9am and 10pm.
Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.