Massive coastal 'fortress' rejected by planners - again

A view towards Arcady from the village green in Cley. 

A view towards Arcady from the village green in Cley. - Credit: Planning documents

It could be curtain call for a coastal village "fortress" as a Norfolk council prepares to make the case for its demolition.

A decade-long planning row over a controversial home in Cley, built by a London theatre producer, came to a head on Thursday with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) rejecting the owner's plans to alter the building.

Now the stage is set for a government appeal, with the council calling for the demolition of all buildings.

The modernist property in Cley, called Arcady, has been branded a "fortress" by locals who claim it was built without the correct planning permission.

Above, an image of how Arcady currently looks, and below, showing some of the proposed changes,

Above, an image of how Arcady currently looks, and below, showing some of the proposed changes, including the removal of a ramp and changing the height of some sections of the roof. - Credit: Planning documents

Despite the owner, Adam Spiegel -whose company has produced West End shows including Hairspray, The Mousetrap and Motown the Musical - and his wife Gay, proposing significant changes, council officers said it did not go far enough.

Councillors rejected two applications by the owner.

One would have replaced a drawing from the original application approved by the government's Planning Inspectorate in 2014.

But objectors claim the substitute drawing shows the building "as it now stands" and not as it was allowed on appeal

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The second application is for entirely new planning permission and would result in changes being carried out to the building.

Planning officer Phillip Rowson told the committee it was "inconceivable" that the Planning Inspectorate would have approved the replacement drawing.

He stressed NNDC was not against Mr Spiegel or development on the site but objected to the height and design of the current and proposed designs.

Residents and parish councillors told NNDC the building is far too large for the location.

Jane Carter, a neighbour, said all the objectors agreed that the building was “massive” with a "fortress-like appearance that is dominant and intrusive”.

Arcady in Holt Road, Cley, which is owned by theatre director Adam Spiegel, has caused outrage local

Arcady in Holt Road, Cley, which is owned by theatre director Adam Spiegel, has caused outrage locally Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

Adam Spiegel, the owner of the property, said his family and the council had become “legal adversaries” following the authority issuing an enforcement notice in 2019.

“My family have had to live with this threat for three years," he said.

“In January last year we entered into mediation and a signed agreement was reached.

WWe thought our nightmare was over. We would have to move out while remedial works were carried out but we could plan our future in a secure manner.” 

Mr Spiegel insisted the plans met the agreement and was “at a loss” for the officer's recommendation for refusal. 

Councillors voted to reject both applications.

The plans will now return to the Planning Inspectorate, which is due to be heard in June.

What’s going on at Arcady? 

The first planning application for the site was put in by the Spiegels in 2012.

The following year, NNDC rejected the couple's bid to build a two-storey house and swimming pool on Holt Road as the design was "inappropriate" for Cley Conservation Area. 

A year later, the decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate, with permission granted on the condition the development had to be carried out following the drawings in the original plan. 

The council received a complaint that the home was not being built to the approved scheme and it asked that work stop on the site for the height to be reduced. Work continued on the site.

In August 2019, the council served an enforcement notice on the couple to demolish all the buildings on site because the development was "materially different" to the approved plan and of "increased scale, height and mass".

The owners then appealed to the Planning Inspectorate again and entered into a mediation process with the council.  

A fresh planning application was also submitted to NNDC. 

The appeal to the planning inspectorate was ‘stayed’ and is due to be heard in June.