This page provides a summary of the current major housing developments/applications affecting Thakeham parish, with links to further information.
May 2017 – Abingworth phase 1 affordable housing: the first phase of the Abingworth development includes two blocks of affordable housing, which are now nearing completion and are being marketed with a view to occupation later in 2017. At the north-west corner of the site 20 local worker units are being marketed as ‘Abingworth Farm’, and towards the south-west of the site a further 12 affordable units are being marketed as ‘Abingworth Crescent’. There are a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom houses, which are being let via a combination of shared-equity and affordable rental schemes. With regard to letting of the Abingworth Farm local worker units, priority is to be given to local workers and residents. Follow this link for more information.
April 2017: Abingworth Phase 2 review – further to recent developments outlined below, this proposal was considered by HDC Development Committee (South) on 25 April 2017, and the proposal was approved. The Parish Council will continue to work with the developer and HDC on design and implementation details, and in particular with WSCC Highways team, on the final design of traffic calming measures. More information on this.
January 2017: Abingworth Phase 2 review – application to amend house numbers/mix now submitted. Following consultation processes outlined below, Abingworth Homes have now applied to HDC (DC/16/2835) to amend the part of the existing development permission relating to 51 bungalow-style units designated for the over-55s. In essence, the proposal would increase house numbers to 62 units in total and remove the over-55s condition. The revised mix would be: 29 x 3-bed and 33 x 4-bed ‘family sized dwellings’. Of these, 40 would be 2 storey dwellings and 22 bungalow style. This would include 4 further affordable units, to be delivered as 2 x 3-bed semi-detached units. The proposed road layout has been adjusted, and there is also provision for a flat above the village shop. The Parish Council’s response to this proposal was decided at its Planning meeting of 23rd January 2017, and can be read here.
November 2016: Abingworth Phase 2 review – Open Meeting Saturday 12 November. The developer has arranged a local consultation event for 12 November 2016, in the Thakeham Village Hall. An open exhibition (10am-2pm) will be followed by a Q&A session chaired by the parish council at 2pm. Find below a flyer from the developer in advance of this meeting.developer-flyer-abingworth-nov-16
September 2016: Abingworth Keyworker houses – work starts 6 September
General information and background
There are two current major housing developments in Thakeham that have planning approval and are under construction:
There is also a further major housing application at Snapes Corner (Gladmans Developments), which is not part of the parish’s plans and is currently subject to the planning process.
The locations of these developments are shown below.
Abingworth Meadows development (Abingworth Homes)
The site location is shown on the map above and comprises around 34 hectares of mainly disused mushroom production facilities, with the remainder being agricultural land. Housing on the main site, east of the B2139, is located in the west and centre of the site, with the remaining eastern fields reserved for agricultural use (protected from further development by a buffer zone/ransom strip). The site also includes, on the west side of the B2139, a corner of the adjacent Chesswood Farm site, where the 20 key worker homes will be located.
This development has been subject to lengthy planning process – set out in full here. In summary, the original planning permission (DC/10/1314, approved in 2013) permitted 146 dwellings, subsequently amended to 147 in Spring 2016. The approved housing mix comprises 64 open market dwellings, 51 dwellings for the 55 plus age group, 12 affordable dwellings and 20 key worker dwellings. In addition to the dwellings, various community and sports facilities were permitted. A 2013 challenge to these proposals via judicial review was rejected.
The development featured an ‘enabling’ financial arrangement of £3.75 million towards the refurbishment of the facilities at the adjacent Chesswood Farm site, to enable the mushroom cultivation activities to continue, securing local employment. As per the requirements of this arrangement there has been investment in modernising mushroom production facilities (now run by Monaghan’s Mushrooms), including significant renewal of growing sheds, installation of new water-storage/pumping related plant, upgrading of power and drainage infrastructure and building refurbishment. This work is ongoing but HDC confirmed in late 2015 that planning conditions relating to this investment have been discharged.
New community assets
After several iterations, the new community facilities linked to the development comprise:
- Village Hall
- Pre-School building
- Two football pitches and changing rooms
- A cricket pitch and pavilion
- Children’s play area (LEAP)
- Allotments area (follow this link for more information on this)
- Landscaped areas including a large pond and new location for the ‘Penn Stone’ (from which the Quaker William Penn is reputed to have preached in the 17C).
- New public Rights of Way, including a new east-west bridleway.
The current approved site layout can be see below; the multi-coloured area is phase 1, for which house numbers/designs are fully specified, and the pink area is phase 2 (where the housing mix/number originally approved in 2013 is subject to review). Construction of phase 1 by the contractors, Oakford Homes, is well advanced.
The phasing of delivery of the new community assets is linked to when certain numbers of houses are delivered and occupied. The parish is working closely with the developers to seek to deliver these facilities earlier than the latest point required by the contract.
Current key issues relating to the Abingworth development
Review of Phase 2 housing mix/numbers
In August 2016 the parish invited comments on indications that the developer was seeking changes the mix and number of houses in phase 2 of the Abingworth development. Without extending the consented building area, the proposed change could increase total house numbers over the 147 currently permitted. While a change of this scale would be significant, there are good reasons to review and consider the options seriously. The currently approved scheme does not seem to the Parish Council to reflect local demand, being dominated by a large number of homes designated for the over-55s, alongside mainly large executive-style houses. A better balance of smaller and medium-sized homes could allow more local families to remain in the area.
Some increase in house numbers at Abingworth would also strengthen the parish’s ability, via its Neighbourhood Plan, to resist speculative development of less suitable green spaces over coming years. There may also be an opportunity to secure additional village benefits, beyond the new facilities already due from the project (see above).
At the same time, we must clearly also consider potential negative impacts and how they can be limited. Hence we have begun the process of consulting residents about what is the right housing mix, whether some more houses on the site would be acceptable, and whether there are missing facilities or support services that the parish should pursue as part of this.
Responses to date show that many local people would be in favour of some change to the currently-permitted housing mix – towards more affordable 2/3 bed properties. However, there are also concerns relating to increasing numbers of houses, with issues raised particularly about impact and the capacity of local infrastructure in relation to local schools, healthcare, public transport and traffic on the B2139 between central Thakeham and Storrington. Click through to find a digest of responses (to 19 August 2016) and a set of FAQs arising from the process.
The developer has arranged a local consultation event for 12 November 2016, in the Thakeham Village Hall. An open exhibition (10am-2pm) will be followed by a Q&A meeting chaired by the parish council at 2pm.
As and when a further specific planning application emerges, this will also be subject to local scrutiny at a Planning meeting open to the public, at which the parish’s formal response will be agreed.
Traffic calming and travel
It is clear that safer walking/cycling routes to Storrington and improved public transport are high amongst Thakeham residents’ priorities. The Parish Council is working with WSCC and colleagues at Storrington & Sullington PC to develop a plan to improve pedestrian/cycling links between the villages, including improving safety arrangements around the Rydon and Water Lane roundabouts.
The parish is also working with WSCC and the Abingworth developer on a phased programme of traffic calming measures for the 30mph section of the B2139 in central Thakeham. There is a need to take effective action to reduce traffic speed in the 30mph zone (where actual car speeds were found to average 40mph several years ago). WSCC Highways now oppose the original proposal for raised speed tables but seem open to considering other approaches. A two-phase approach has been agreed with the developer, aligned to the phases of house construction.
- For Phase 1, steps will focus on the new northern road junction, upgraded arrangements at the existing crossing-point north of High Bar Lane, roundels and other road surface treatments and also SID signs (flashing speed indicators) at the north and south boundaries of the 30mph zone. Abingworth Developments will liaise with Monaghan’s Mushrooms to include changes in this phase of works to entry/exit arrangements to discourage HGV travel from/to the north. The parish is also liaising with Sussex Police on additional signage to reinforce the 30mph speed limit.
- Linked to Phase 2, further traffic-calming measures will be developed based on updated traffic volume/speed data. If the data is supportive this could include ‘priority’ calming, i.e. traffic entering the 30mph zone being forced to give way to traffic exiting. There may also be a new crossing at the northern site junction, for a proposed extension of the new east-west bridleway through the site across to the west side of the B2139 (linking through to High Bar Lane near the play area).
In due course discussions will also be opened with bus companies towards improving the local service. This section will be updated as these discussions move forward.
Further information on the Abingworth Development
To find out more about the houses being built at this site and/or to register an interest, visit http://www.oakfordhomes.co.uk/Developments/abingworth-meadows-thakeham/portfolio call 01628 522084 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow this link for further information about the affordable housing for keyworkers/local residents.
For more detail on the planning background and current agreements, go to Horsham District Council’s planning portal and search on ‘Abingworth Nurseries’.
‘Meadowbrook’ development at Water Lane (Crest Nicholson)
The location of the site is shown on the map above. Previously rough grassland, the site is bounded on the northern and western (Water Lane) boundaries by trees and hedges, with a stream flowing along the south-western boundary. To the south and east the site are existing residential roads Brook Close, Rother Close, Concorde Close, Jubilee Way, Rainbow Way, and St Marys Close. North of the site are open fields and Snapes Cottage, a Grade II Listed Building.
This development has also been through a complex and extended planning process. The developer’s original application in 2013 (DC/13/1265) was resisted by Thakeham and neighbouring parish councils and refused by Horsham District Council, but was allowed by Inspector on appeal in 2014. The upshot is approval for 76 houses, and some communal amenities (children’s play area, pond area). Construction began in late 2015 and is now well-advanced, and the development will end up looking as shown in the drawing below.
To find out more about the houses being built at this site and/or to register an interest, go to https://www.crestnicholson.com/meadowbrook/
For more detail on the planning background and current agreements, go to Horsham District Council’s planning portal and search on ‘Land North of Brook Close’.
Proposal for Snapes Corner, Storrington Road (Gladmans Developments)
This site is the subject of a major housing application which Thakeham Parish and Horsham District Council are strongly resisting. The location of this site is also shown in the map above. It is a greenfield site and part of the open space separating the built-up areas of Thakeham and Storrington. In late 2015 application DC/15/2374 was submitted by Gladmans Developments to construct 107 houses on this site. Thakeham Parish Council strongly objected to this proposal (see full statement), which was subsequently refused by Horsham District Council (for these reasons).
Gladmans have subsequently (July 2016) submitted a further revised application (DC/16/1489) for up to 60 houses on the same site. Thakeham Parish Council has strongly objected again, on the same key grounds as the previous application. This site is not included as a developable location in the draft Thakeham Neighbourhood Plan, and is designated as ‘non-developable’ in the current HDC Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA). HDC subsequently refused this application. The appeal of HDC’s refusal of DC/15/2374 is due to be heard by an Inspector in April 2017. Further news relating to this proposal will be posted here when available.