McCartney fails to win over council planners

Paul McCartney failed to resolve his differences with his local council today, despite offering to demolish one of his houses on his sprawling country estate to save a log cabin built without planning permission.

The rock legend has been locked in a dispute with planning officers over the secluded timber lodge and gym built in the grounds of Woodlands Farm in Brede Lane, Peasmarsh, near Rye, East Sussex.

In a supporting statement on behalf of the ex-Beatle to Rother District Council, McCartney, 64, previously said he needed the two-bedroom lodge for “privacy, seclusion and security“.

However, the council refused him retrospective planning permission for the structures, because it said they harmed the landscape quality of the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty.

The council’s refusal, plus the threat of enforcement action, led to McCartney offering to demolish a three-bedroom detached house in his grounds, known as Beanacres, and two agricultural barns, to compensate for being allowed to keep his lodge.

Today, planning councillors met at Bexhill Town Hall but declined to back the recommendation of officers to approve the scheme, prolonging the stand-off between McCartney and council planners.

McCartney was not present at the meeting as councillors instead voted in favour of a site visit to his country estate. Photographs and drawings of the site had failed to satisfy some members of the impact the changes would have.

Councillor David Vereker said: “If we go along this route we will be creating a very, very difficult precedent.”

Councillor Keith Standring questioned why a solid house like Beanacres should be granted demolition approval when there was a need for housing in the district.

Councillors heard that McCartney’s plan was being opposed by Peasmarsh Parish Council, whose officials said they might recommend consent if he offered a “planning gain” to the village, such as social housing.

Head of planning Frank Rallings said a site inspection will be arranged before the next planning committee on October 12.

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