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Crazy golf scheme for Herne Bay pier looks set to be approved

Oh dear, it looks like a shoo-in – no surprise there…

A smuggler-themed crazy golf course on Herne Bay pier looks set to be given the go-ahead by planning councillors.

Officials are recommending that the £250,000 scheme by arcade boss David Cain is granted planning permission, despite almost 30 letters from opponents. It would see a 13-hole course, complete with theme-park style shops, caves, waterfalls and bridges, built on the empty pier platform and surrounded by a two-metre high fence.

The development would leave a two-metre wide walkway around the course, giving access to the pier for anglers and walkers. The course would be floodlit and open from 9am to 10pm most of the year.

Two letters supporting the project were sent to Canterbury City Council, pointing out that the site could benefit the whole town and be a unique attraction. They also say it would be different to an existing course, owned by Jonas Pashley, whose family run the Sandancers arcade nearby. His daughter Shaney led the campaign against it and said it could put her father out of business.

Opponents sent a total of 27 letters against the proposals, raising concerns about the impact of the scheme on the regeneration of the pier. Many also argued that there was no need for another crazy golf course.

Planning officer Steve Musk said the main issue was the impact of the development on the seafront conservation area. In a report to the planning committee, who will meet on Tuesday to consider the proposals, he said:

“The proposed development and the use of the site as an adventure-based crazy golf facility would not be out of keeping with the type of activities expected to be found on a seaside pier and would preserve the character of the Herne Bay conservation area.

It is clear that many people do not feel this is an appropriate use for the site, whilst the presence of a crazy golf course nearby has also been a source of concern. It is considered that the impact of the scheme on the locality would be acceptable, [acceptable to whom, Mr Musk?] whilst the proposed use would be in accordance with the Herne Bay Area Action plan which sets out to provide a leisure facility on this site.”

Mr Musk recommends granting planning permission for the scheme, with conditions including that a structural survey on the pier platform is carried out first, and that the course must be removed when it is no longer used.

Mr Cain would still need to negotiate a lease for the site with Canterbury City Council, who own the pier. The council’s ruling executive committee has already agreed that letting out the pier platform could help raise valuable income to pay for maintenance work.

The development control committee will meet at 6.30pm on Tuesday, February 5, at the Guildhall in Canterbury. The meeting is open to the public.

thisiskent 29th Jan 2013

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