Questions have been raised with both Lewes DC and Seaford TC. East Sussex County Council (Highways) provide the licence to the scaffolder. Seaford expresss their protest at the inordinate amount of time the scaffolding has been there – 4 years and counting.

The building is owned by Vision Properties Ltd, Director David Rabson. VPL is itself owned by two anonymous shareholders, registered in Panama. (Incidentally, a block of 3 shops and flats opposite, in lower High Street, is owned by the same people under the name Oakbarn Ltd, also owned by shareholders in Panama). Rabson is on the board of no less than 42 firms and charities. All development matters are dealt with by an Agent, Uri Kaplan, Director of UKS Estates Ltd and some 9 other companies or charities. It seems a shame that two such men should so evidently have no charitable feelings towards Seaford.

We will not let this go. It is an unacceptable situation.

Progress as at July 2021
The phenomenal research effort continues. It does not help that there are various blame games in progress, with claims and counter claims being made by those who should instead be publicly supporting the efforts that Councils are making. We continue to work, both to provide truths and to seek legal mechanisms to rid the town of the eyesore.

Progress as at May 2021
Complex investigations by three highly committed SRV members are proceeding. The building’s owners have been identified, as have those ESCC officers who have the responsibility to renew the scaffolding licence. The chain of events and communications is being unearthed and any potential queries or uncertainties are being identified. Working with Freedom of Information requests is time consuming on both sides, so this is not an easy or a quick occupation. We are finding that procedures seem to be in place to oblige residents to wait for their results, or just to forget it and go away!

It’s safe to say, though, that despite political claims to the contrary, there is no quick or easy fix to the problem. A change to national law is needed to ensure that it is automatic to put an end date to the validity of every planning grant, and automatically to limit disrpution to infrastructure to a defined and reasonable period.

Discussed at Lewes District Council 24 November 2020:
Behind the scenes these two Councillors have been working to try and resolve the situation as there seems to have been no work on the site during the pandemic despit other building sites being active. The Council voted to continue applying the pressure and will writing to the Government requesting attentionto the legal loophole that allows a temporary installation to be present for five years.

Cllr Emily O’Brien and Lewes DC reported on 9 March 2020:
Demolition work on the site has at last started. She and Cllr Stephen Gauntlett are keeping an eye on developments to ensure that work is not halted again without good reason. How much SRV’s pressure on the various local social media sites helped this along is not known, but we were prepared to continue the fight until a remedy to the situation was found. AS it is we too will be keeping an eye on things and reporting to everyone when necessary.

We are grateful to these two Councillors and to all others who have campaigned on Seaford residents’ behalf.

Emily O’Brien reported on 1 Feb 2020:
“Update on Talland Road Scaffolding in Seaford – Developer has committed to finishing the internal prep work next week, with demolition starting the following week (from 9th Feb). District Council officers keeping a a close eye to make sure this is really happening this time.

Demolition is always unpleasant, dusty and noisy – but it’s the way to get the job done and scaffolding out the way. This is probably the only site in the district where everyone is praying for demolition to start so let’s just go with (it)”
Emily is the lead Cabinet member for Planning on Lewes DC.

It’s good that information has finally been made public as it’s in everyone’s interests for that to be so. It removes some of the frustrations and lack of trust for Residents and that improves goodwill between them and their Councils – and even with the developer.

Notice the word “improves”, not “restores”…

Update on 21 January 2020:
Detailed information is being requested by Freedom of Information requests from East Sussex and Lewes District. Work is in progress.

Update on 16 January 2020:
Communication channels are now opening between the Lead Councillor on Planning, our MP, the Chairman of LDC and ourselves. We are awaiting volunteers to keep diaries on when work takes place on the site so that claims that work is taking place can be rebuffed when necessary.

3 thoughts on “Talland Parade Scaffolding”

  1. I have written to Maria Caulfield 2 days ago (Friday) and received a reply today stating that she is frustrated as I am about the scaffolding and non-start of any work at Talland Parade and she will raised the issue again. I was going to write myself today to the planning dept and ask what, if anything is being done about this blot on Seaford towns landscape. Perhaps you can tell me if you have any further info first.

    1. Hi Angela

      Many apologies for not responding to you at the time you raised this. I received no email notification from the site to tell me about it.

      Despite what she and her local colleagues have stated in a leaflet a few weeks ago about there being a legal device that was available to the District and County Councils to require the scaffolding to be removed, there is none. At lest, there is none that has not already been used. I’m afraid that claim is factless.

      All the time a builder comes to the site to bang on a wall, it is legally equivalent to work being done. All the time there is work being done there is no action that any Council can take to require the scaffolding to be removed. It is this loophole that has had the result of over 5 years of eyesore in the town, and until the loophole is removed the situation can legally continue. The MP has been told this – before the claim was made in the leaflet, by the way – but whether she is seeking the change of legislation that we require I don’t know.

      Residents, their Association, Town, District and County Councillors honestly doing what they can but their hands are tied. The solution lies in central government and only the MP can influence that. If you can bring pressure to bear on her, or higher up the government food chain, please do. 27,000 people will thank you for it!

      If we can do anything else to help you, please do get in touch.

      All best wishes,

      Committee member, Seaford Residents’ Voice

    2. Further to Richard’s response, I recently received this response from Maria:
      “It is not quite true that they do not have the powers to take enforcement action. However the powers they do have would be very expensive to carry out so I am working with them to see what other options are available. Ultimately if there are no other options available then they will have to use the powers they have to end this current stand off just as other councils do.”

      It has been long established that LDC, as Local Planning Authority, has no powers to deal with a rogue owner who is evidently unwilling to complete a permitted development. Thus far it seems that “what other councils do” is a secret not shared by Maria with the Council with which she is “working”, and she has declined to take Seaford’s case up with the Minister of Housing, or anyone else.
      The solution referred to is Compulsory Purchase, which Lewes & Seaford are currently considering as a joint exercise, as neither can afford to buy the site at a “market value”, let alone risk the possible legal costs if the owner challenged the measure in court. They are not permitted to risk public funds unless sure they will not be lost.
      The records show that LDC officers have in fact been putting pressure on the developer to complete since 2017, with no weapons other than bluff.

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