Decision Made on Key Planning Cases

At its meeting on 20 August, Horsham District Council’s Development South Committee decided two key local planning cases and endorsed the views of Thakeham PC in both;

Thakeham Tiles

Following 2018 consultations and an open Thakeham planning meeting discussion last October, Horsham District Council (HDC) Planning Committee have now given outline approval for the proposals under DC/18/2095, for 90 houses at this site.

After thorough debate, a large majority of members supported the planning officer recommendation to approve this scheme.  The Parish Council (PC) is pleased that the affordable element of the scheme, now 20% (18 units), doubles the original proposals.  While it is lower than the 35% level HDC would prefer, this was considered necessary to allow for the costs of the business moving to another site in the district. Having this approval in place will help the owners of the business to make this transition happen as soon as possible.  If the business does not successfully relocate, and if it were to close, then the affordable requirement would revert to 35%.   Other issues explored at the meeting included ecology/biodiversity, car journeys, road safety and air quality, all of which were covered either in the current proposals, or by further detailed work required via conditions.  Understandable concerns were expressed about residents of Storrington bearing traffic and infrastructure impacts, but ultimately members accepted that the scheme will generate infrastructure funding to help cover the costs of mitigating measures.   Thakeham PC has also previously indicated that it would expect to use funds from this development to invest in local ‘green’ community transport. The PC also secured agreement to add conditions relating to the energy performance of the development and its homes.

The Thakeham Tiles site features in the Thakeham Neighbourhood Plan (TNP), which was strongly endorsed by residents at referendum in 2017.  Although the 90 units now approved in outline by HDC is higher than the ‘approximately 50’ indicated in the TNP, the application process has shown that the site can accommodate this number without visual impact on adjacent areas, and – importantly – that this size of scheme is the minimum needed to enable the business to move to another site.  District Councillors were also mindful of the need to properly utilise all sites that have been identified as developable in neighbourhood plans, to minimise the number of greenfield sites that need to be built on to meet government-set housing targets.   The Parish Council will keep in touch with the progress of the business finding a new site, and when the site becomes available for construction, there will be many subsidiary details to scrutinise to ensure that the development is delivered to high standards.

 

Threals Lane Piggery

Thakeham PC is relieved that the Committee unanimously rejected an application for this scheme (which was originally approved via a questionable planning appeal decision) to mutate into a ‘self-build’ project of 8 very large houses, with the loss of 2 affordable units currently required.  The Committee agreed with both Thakeham and West Chiltington PCs that without the affordable units in the scheme there was no rationale for 8 new mansions at this unsustainable location, and that there were still untried ways to deliver the affordable units.