Monaghan Mushroom Site Update 17 October 2023

Parish Councillor Meeting with Bellway Regarding the Ex-Monaghan Site

The Parish Council (PC) was invited by Bellway to a meeting at the ex-Monaghan mushroom site on the 17 October. Present were the Clerk, the Chairman of the PC and the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee, Michael Birch, Planning Manager Bellway Homes Ltd (South London), the PC’s Abingworth site contact, together with representatives from Consult Communications and Savills, who are working with Bellway.

Michael Birch stated that Bellway did not yet own the site but had an interest in it. They have had two meetings with Horsham District Council (HDC) officers regarding planning applications.

Bellway is intending to work up a full planning application to submit to HDC prior to the publication of the HDC Local Plan. The developer wanted to understand more about the PC’s Neighbourhood Plan conditions and the current feelings of Thakeham residents towards further development. See Our Neighbourhood Plan page and Neighbourhood Plan PDF Document for more details.

We explained that we approach every planning application with an open mind but use our Neighbourhood Plan as our chief reference in decision making.

This says:

“Thakeham3: Horticultural Land off Storrington Road (‘Mushroom Site’)

Provided that it can be demonstrated that all reasonable efforts have been made to secure an agricultural and horticultural use of the site, redevelopment for one or more of the following uses will be permitted:

a. a D2 recreational use compatible with the countryside location;
b. a solar array use;
c. a B1 light industrial/commercial use and/or tourism within the existing developed area of the site with the remainder returned to an open agricultural use.

4.23 This Policy for the important, established horticultural site on the edge of Thakeham village seeks to promote the continuation of that use but it also defines what would be acceptable should the existing business leave.

We shared with them comments that have been made by residents in public meetings, particularly about how inappropriate it would be for the B2139 to take more traffic and Thakeham’s lack of infrastructure (schools, GP practice, shops etc).

We explained that it was our intention to start work to refresh our Neighbourhood Plan so that it would dovetail with HDC’s new Local Plan. This would entail further research and consultation with the Community.

Bellway said that its current thinking was to restrict building work to the current “industrial” part of the site, leaving much of the green space for the community and visitors.

They would focus on smaller, affordable homes and are exploring a variety of care facilities within the plan. Bellway are also happy to explore other types of buildings (school/employment site/workshops/retail units) and said it would be open to these being held in community ownership.