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CoS Can’t Wait For Planning Application at St Hill

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Axiom142, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    In the UK, you can’t just build what you like - there are rules.

    These rules dictate that, if you wish to build a building, make major alterations to existing ones or carry out certain other building works, you have to apply for what is known as ‘planning permission’ from the local authority (Council).

    In the East Grinstead area, the planning authority is Mid Sussex District Council. So, if for example, you were a cul- er, ‘New Religious Movement’, with a large estate in the East Grinstead area and wanted to make ‘improvements’ to that estate, you would have to apply for permission to do so and then go through a process before you were allowed to make those improvements. Part of that process involves allowing local residents and other people of interest to pass comment on the proposal.

    Well, on the 22nd of August 2016, the ironically-named ‘Church’ of Scientology made an application to construct, “Provision of coach drop-off area, 6 contractor parking bays, minor alteration to access onto West Hoathly Road and associated landscaping.”

    The full application can be viewed from this link:

    and enter ‘DM/16/3611’ (or enter ‘RH19 4JY’ for all recent applications at this address)

    A copy of the planning notice (which is displayed at the site) can be seen here:


    As you can see, comments are invited, by the 30th of September 2016.

    But, when I went past the proposed site on the 10th of Sept (20 days before the end of the period for comments), I found that work had already started! Yep, that’s right – they make the application, and before anyone has had a chance to object, and well before the end of the consultation period, start the work anyway.



    In fact, it appears almost finished. I am guessing that Miscavige wanted all landscaping and similar work to the St Hill estate to be finished by the date of the IAS shindig on the 7th of October 2016 and ordered work to start right away without wait for approval from those pesky council people.

    Now, it isn’t unheard of for building work to commence before the planning process is complete, but this is for fairly standard works and where the planning officer has given an informal ‘nod’. Even so, this is somewhat risky because if planning consent is withheld, then the site would have to be returned to its original condition and any buildings dismantled at the applicants cost.

    This situation is different because, although there isn’t a building as such involved, it does involve changes to the layout of the entrance and since provision is to be made for coaches, that would mean that large vehicles would now be arriving and exiting onto a narrow stretch of road with limited visibility. The width of the road is such that any coach arriving would probably have to swing out onto the other side of the road to get down the entrance road and certainly when exiting, any coach would have to swing over onto the wrong side of the road. Given the width of the road at this point, it would then be impossible for any car-sized and above vehicles to pass. I have included some photos to show the extent of the problem.



    View to the right from the entrance:


    View to the left:


    Bear in mind that on this road, there is no special speed limit, so traffic could be travelling at up to 60mph. Imagine rounding a bend at say, 50mph and then finding a coach lumbering out of the slip road, half on your side of the road? Simply not safe.

    Looking at the documents that accompany the application, I can see a recommendation from a meeting of The East Grinstead Society (held on the 6th of Sept – I wonder if they knew that even while they were debating the plans, work had already started?). The conclusion was, “Recommend refusal. It is difficult to think of a more inappropriate spot than this for coaches to manoeuvre in a narrow road with busy and fast moving traffic.”

    I agree.

    I have reported this to the planning control department of the council, but unfortunately their hands are tied, apparently.

    From the response, “Thanks for your email. Whilst I note your frustration, whilst a planning application is pending the Council (in line with national legislation and guidance) cannot enter into enforcement action to remedy the breach. The only action could potentially be via a Temporary Stop Notice, however, this could only be justified if there is immediate and explicit harm being caused to warrant the issue of such a Notice. I have consulted with the case officer dealing with the application and as there is no immediate highway safety concerns, the issue of such a Notice cannot be justified at this time.”

    I bet I know what will happen. The cult starts using this turning area well before the planning consultation period finishes, so that if the council tries to refuse planning permission, the cult say, “We have been using this for weeks now without a problem. If you refuse permission, we will appeal.” And then put endless money into mounting appeal after appeal. So eventually, the council will cave in and allow the development to stay.

    And the cult will have ridden roughshod over the law yet again. :angry:

  2. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Thanks for the work, Ax.

    Maybe some local media would do a piece on it . . . and embarrass the MSDC into doing what it should be doing. It's called a road but it's not much more than a narrow country lane.

    I remember back in 1982 (approx) riding a rickety old bike from Bullards to SH, just turning onto Saint Hill Road (other end) at the crossroads. I was standing on the pedals to get up some speed and came round the blind bend to find a damn coach stopped on the road. The brakes were awful, but fortunately there was a grass triangle big enough to accommodate the bike and me. No damage done. I went a bit slower there afterwards.

  3. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    I really hope someone stands up and makes a noise about this, besides you Ax. It's typical, their disregard for 'wog law'.
  4. Ogsonofgroo

    Ogsonofgroo Crusader

    Meh, it is cult o' Hubbard, rules were made fer fools eh!


    I hope cult puts out a vid on how they fixed the spew they were polluting their neighbor's waters for years. As an historical ground, maybe some of the archeological students from Oxford etc. should have done some digging first? dunno. Cult o' Hubbard, they are prone to crash-n'-bashin', not new, common laws do not apply to them...

  5. BigBeard

    BigBeard Patron

    When, not if, someone slams into a coach on the wrong side of the road, and the lawsuits start, will the Planning Council be considered liable for not taking action when first advised of this?
  6. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    A quick update on this…

    Got an email from Mid Sussex District Council:


    Rather disappointing that they are recommending granting approval.

    Why? Take a look at this video (click through the link and view via Firefox or Chrome at full resolution) :

    Comments, please.

    Is this an example of the council bowing to pressure from the well-heeled and notoriously litigious cult?

    I hope not.

  7. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Thanks for the update Ax, and the video. Yes, disappointing that they're just rolling with the easier option even though it clearly violates their rules.

    As for it being unsafe, yes it is, but this is England with its narrow winding lanes and blind corners literally everywhere, and since traffic probably travels at 10 mph from that direction it's hard to get worked up about it. The driver did obviously look to his right for any 30 mph traffic before turning.

  8. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    I can assure you Paul, that traffic from that direction goes a lot faster than 10mph. 30 - 40 mph is about the norm. And remember, the actual speed limit is 60mph on that stretch.

    And since that stretch of road is so busy and full of bends, is it an appropriate place for 42-seater coaches to enter and exit?

  9. dchoiceisalwaysrs

    dchoiceisalwaysrs Gold Meritorious Patron

    from the email

    "Comments sent in writing will still be taken into account..."

    Have you searched the local bylaws and others regarding of the entrance layout and highway safety concerns? know when I was researching and designing a subdivision some 30+ years ago there were restrictions as to placement of an egress/ingress such as a driveway or roadway. There were concerning distance from the enter point along the path of the highway and specifically stated distance required of a clear view from an x distance along the highway of the entrance point. Things like grade of highway (a hillcrest) or other inhibiting factors...which I would assume be blind corners..
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  10. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Newspaper article here:

    Selected quotes:

    THE Church of Scientology has upset neighbours with plans for a coach park at its UK HQ.
    The group, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among high-profile supporters, has applied for retrospective planning permission for a coach park at the Grade II listed Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead.
    Residents say the plans could sour relations with the church, which has until now been a good neighbour.
    Almost 50 objections raised concerns about the safety hazard posed by large buses using tight, winding country lanes, light, noise and air pollution and the harmful impact on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

    East Grinstead Town Council recommends refusal of the plans over traffic safety concerns and expressed disappointment the church was only seeking consent after the work had been done, saying it was “well versed in the planning process”.
    Residents said work began last autumn and only stopped in February following a temporary road closure for electrical works and in the face of complaints from neighbours.

    “There is an existing coach park three or four minutes away so they are needlessly destroying an AONB and needlessly upsetting a community.”

  11. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    If you check through the voluminous correspondence at (enter ref ‘DM/16/3611’) you will find correspondence with ‘County Highways’ who recommend several modifications to the road to meet standard requirements.

    These include widening the radius of the entrance and constructing a layby on the cult’s property to allow busses to pass each other without having to wait on the road, thereby blocking it for all traffic.

    In addition, if you look at my photos in the original post, there are a large number of trees which might restrict the view. Most of these have now been chopped down by the cult.

    But the main point that I was trying to make, is that the cult should have got permission to do all of these things before actually doing them!

    They removed a section of the verge (public right of way) to widen the entrance. Doing this is an offence

    They are operating a facility in an unsafe state. And what about the rights of their neighbours?

    Here are a few of the objections voiced:

    Significant increase in noise of large vehicle movements for the residents Saint Hill Green. The weight of these vehicles on the local roads not designed or built for such use or purpose would inevitably lead to the destruction of the road infrastructure and therefore increased maintenance costs to the local council.

    Hopefully, the first accident will be not before the applicant has rethought this notion and avoid coming
    into Saint Hill Green. The coaches are also currently using the main entrance of Saint Hill Manor on Saint Hill Road. Why not exclusively use the main entrance and let people walk the 3 minutes from the main Saint Hill Manor parking area to the Stables and so avoid these road safety problems?

    The usage of this site is totally unacceptable and inappropriate for a rural, residential hamlet. It is causing serious amounts of stress and affecting the resident’s well-being.

    The cult pretends to try to be ‘good neighbours’, but this all goes out the window when an order comes down from Miscavige to build a coach park at ‘that location’ just to impress his whales and Scileb friends.

  12. ThetanExterior

    ThetanExterior Gold Meritorious Patron

    The Way To Happiness (Applicable to Wogs only)

    6. Set a Good Example

    9. Don't Do Anything Illegal

    10. Support a Government Designed and Run For All the People

    12. Safeguard and Improve Your Environment

    14. Be Worthy of Trust

    15. Fulfill Your Obligations

    19. Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You

    20. Try to Treat Others As You Would Want Them to Treat You

    The Way To Happiness (Applicable to CofS)

    1. Do What Thou Wilt
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  13. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Well, we have got a decision.

    Not unexpected, I’m afraid. Money rules…

    Full text here:


    The Council hereby notify you that they GRANT planning permission for the above
    development to be carried out in accordance with the submitted application and plans and
    subject to compliance with the following conditions:-

    1. The use of the site by coaches shall cease on 26th May 2018.
    Reason: To enable the use of the site by coaches to have a trial run in order to allow
    an assessment of the impact of this use on residential amenity to be made at the end
    of the trial period and to comply with policies B3 and B23 of the Mid Sussex Local

    2. Coaches may only access and exit the site between 08.00 and 21.00.
    Reason: To protect the amenity of local residents and to comply with policy B3 of the
    Mid Sussex Local Plan

    3.No part of the development shall be used as a coach drop off area until such time as
    the vehicular access serving the development has been constructed in accordance
    with the approved planning drawing.
    Reason: In the interests of road safety and to accord with Policy T4 of the Mid
    Sussex Local Plan and Policy DP19 of the Submission Draft District Plan 2014 -

    4. The coach drop off area may not be used by coaches until visibility splays of 2.4
    metres by 46m to the south and 30m to the north have been provided at the existing
    site vehicular access onto West Hoathly Road in accordance with the approved
    planning drawings. Once provided the splays shall thereafter be maintained and kept
    free of all obstructions over a height of 0.6 metre above adjoining carriageway level
    or as otherwise agreed.
    Reason: In the interests of road safety and to accord with Policy T4 of the Mid
    Sussex Local Plan and Policy DP19 of the Submission Draft District Plan 2014 -

    5. Approved Plans
    The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the plans
    listed below under the heading "Plans Referred to in Consideration of this

    Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interest of proper planning.


    1. Section 278 Agreement of the 1980 Highways Act - Works within the Highway. The
    applicant is advised to enter into a legal agreement with West Sussex County
    Council, as Highway Authority, to cover the off-site highway works. The applicant is
    requested to contact The Implementation Team Leader (01243 642105) to
    commence this process. The applicant is advised that it is an offence to undertake
    any works within the highway prior to the agreement being in place.

    2. In accordance with Article 35 of the Town and Country Planning (Development
    Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, the Local Planning Authority has
    acted positively and proactively in determining this application by identifying matters
    of concern within the application (as originally submitted) and negotiating, with the
    Applicant, acceptable amendments to the proposal to address those concerns. As a
    result, the Local Planning Authority has been able to grant planning permission for an
    acceptable proposal, in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable
    development, as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework.

    No mention of any sanctions for building it in the first place and operating it without checking that it was safe to do so.