William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

Congratulations to the Chewton Glen for obtaining planning permission to build their cookery school- a master class on charming the Christchurch Council Planning Committee.

The controversy over their plans was not the cookery school itself, but the decision to site the development not near the hotel but at the edge of their grounds on a quiet residential road in the middle of a precious area of green belt.

Unsurprisingly, when the first application was submitted, the Planning Committee threw out the application as inappropriate development in the Green Belt. It was hoped that revised plans would be submitted with the development more appropriately placed. Not so. The re submission was for the same place, but accompanied by a charm offensive.

Gone were the references to it being a Bistro. The Manager’s expressed desire to have a gastro pub was buried and coy references were made to the restaurant being a “tasting area”. As a final ploy James Martin was wheeled out to address the Councillors with a homily about his background and passion.

Following the election, the make-up of the Planning Committee had changed since the earlier application and the Councillors, previously stony-faced and firm, melted and granted the permission on the ground of economic benefit to the developer being clearly ‘a very special circumstance’ to build on Green Belt.

The Chewton Glen is naturally delighted. The Cookery School is part of their plan to maintain their reputation as one of the top hotel destinations and it is a competitive market, so every advantage counts.

If the hotel keeps to its promises, James Martin will be a regular at the school and, whilst on anticipates many lessons will be financially beyond the reach of most of us, the application did promise provision to local schools and youngsters.

Peter Watson-Lee

Christchurch Chamber if Trade and Commerce


www.williamsthompson.co.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 01202 484242


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