Councillors’ fears about caravan site

FEARS about the long-term future of a North Bersted caravan site have been raised by parish councillors.

Bersted Parish Council members are worried the threat to Rowan Park will impact its success in the next decade.

The council has been asked to comment about Arun District Council’s plans to introduce a local development order for three sites on either side of the A29.

One of them – Rowan Park on Rowan Way – is leased by Arun to the Caravan Club of Great Britain until 2024.

The parish council agreed unanimously on Tuesday to back the view of its planning, amenities and environment committee meeting that the 3.3ha site should be left as a visitor attraction.

Cllr Gill Yeates told the committee it was a pleasant and popular site.

“I fear Arun are trying to undermine the site in terms of its viability so they can get the lease when it comes up. I don’t see the logic of it.

“The site is next to the Bersted Brooks local nature reserve, close to the North Bersted conservation area and outside the built-up area.

“Arun say they don’t want a piecemeal development but looking at the land in phases is not an over-arching masterplan.

“If this site was to be developed, it should be subject to a higher level 
of planning regulation and not lower as Arun are proposing.

“There are plenty of brownfield sites, like Durban Road, which should be developed first,” she said.

Fellow committee member Cllr Brian Knight said: “As a parish council, we should say this is outside the built-up area and it should be kept as the strategic gap between Shripney and Bersted.”

Cllr Peter Allsopp said: “It should not be developed until such time as all the brownfield sites are occupied. It’s crazy otherwise.”

Rowan Park is open from March 20 to November 9. It has 92 pitches with 32 hardstanding and six for tents.

The Caravan Club of Great Britain was among the consultees asked for their views.

The organisation failed to comment on the matter to the Observer.

A local development order is a planning rule which relaxes planning controls in areas to promote economic, social or environmental gains – such as boosting enterprise.

The current informal consultation being carried out by Arun ends at 5pm next Friday.

If the council decides to go ahead, a formal consultation will be needed.

The order is also intended to cover Salt Box, with its 11.8ha used for farming, Oldlands Farm where Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is building a centre on some of the 23.8ha site, and the former Lec airfield of 30.5ha.

The expected timetable sees part of Oldlands Farm developed first followed by Salt Box.

The rest of Oldlands Farm, Salt Box and the airfield is expected to be next from 2019-2024.

Rowan Park is scheduled for 2024 onwards along with land north west of the airfield.

Arun said: “The proposal will help create suitable conditions for economic growth and could have positive outcomes in providing sites for the relocation of existing businesses and for new business premises.”