East Grinstead Courier & Observer 26th Sept 09
Saint Hill entertainment licence will be considered again
Saturday, September 26, 2009
RESIDENTS objecting to an entertainment licence for Saint Hill Manor during a consultation period were shocked to discover it had already been granted.
Saint Hill Green homeowners were told Mid Sussex District Council had already given permission for up to 10 late night events a year to be held at the Church of Scientology's East Grinstead base, despite public notices saying the consultation was still open.
"A neighbour gave me a copy of the public notice which said you had until August 31 to make comments," said Saint Hill Green resident Steve Pears.
The district council received Mr Pears' objections on August 11 but told him he was too late as the consultation ended on July 31.
Once a licence is granted it cannot be revoked unless the licence holder dies or does not comply with conditions.
But residents have been given a second chance to fight the licence after Saint Hill Manor volunteered to give the licence up after the next event on October 18 and re-apply.
Now Mr Pears and his neighbours want to ensure everyone affected by the licence has a chance to comment.
"Saint Hill Green is a registered area of outstanding natural beauty and the council's own website says there will be no further development there that affects the character of the area or increases traffic," said Mr Pears.
"Ten events with up to 7,000 people, how can they say that won't increase the traffic?
"We have no real public services. One bus comes and stops in the road because there is nowhere to pull in, we get coaches from Standen and all the cars from the sports club.
"A lot of people walk down the road in the dark and I am concerned that someone will be killed by a vehicle along that road."
Mr Pears is also concerned about the noise from events held at Saint Hill Manor.
"When they have events the noise is tremendous. We can't sit in our garden," he said. "And when they have firework displays it makes our windows rattle.
Tatjana Keenan, speaking for Saint Hill, said an error in her application that had caused the confusion.
"By mistake I put in August 31 as the end of the consultation period when it should have been a month earlier," she said.
"The present licence will be in place until the end of October when it will be relinquished to the district council and we will re-apply. So, people still have time to make their comments."
To find out more about the application (09/01555/LAPRM) visit http://www.midsussex.gov.uk
"Woops I put the wrong thing on the form because I'm a lying homo novis cultist accidentally on purpose trying to pull the wool of the eyes of you 'WOGS'."