Nursery schemes rejected as Bersted voters backed

VOTERS have been backed by councillors over the use of a North Bersted site.

The area’s electors said they wanted Chalcroft Nurseries to be used for allotments when they backed their neighbourhood plan last month.

That view was endorsed by Arun District Council’s development control committee for the first time when its members rejected two applications for the land.

The committee said the separate schemes to use the site off Chalcraft Lane should be refused permission because they went against the neighbourhood plan policy to create the parish’s first allotments there.

Both votes were nine in favour of refusal, three in support of the schemes and one abstention.

They over-turned the officer’s recommendation.

One of the rejected schemes was submitted by Sussex Reclaim and Storage to continue to use the land for three years for the siting of a sales office, portable building and a storage yard.

Cllr Simon McDougall (I, Bersted) told last Wednesday’s committee meeting: “This council has been banging the drum for neighbourhood plans and how important they are to the planning process and to local people and how they 
hand control of planning applications to them.

“The Bersted neighbourhood plan has just gone through a referendum and the majority supported it.

“Therefore, continuing to allow temporary permission would ride roughshod over the views of local people.”

The site had been the cause of controversial uses for many years, he said.

Some 90.55 per cent of Bersted residents voted in favour of the Bersted neighbourhood plan when they went to the polls on October 23.

The plan was the result of years of hard work by the volunteer team from Bersted Parish Council.

Cllr Ann Smee (C, Bersted) said the nurseries were outside the built up area and within the strategic gap which separated Bognor Regis and Chichester.

“This use is totally unsuitable for this nursery site,” she said.

“There are existing industrial estates within Bersted which would be far more suitable.”

The council had objected to a similar proposal, refused permission by the county council last year, said Cllr Smee.

The other proposal was to continue to allow Motorhome and Caravan Services to service the vehicles and sell spares.

Objectors spoke against both applications because of their nuisance to neighbours.

They also claimed the uses caused unsafe traffic conditions along Chalcraft Lane.

Council planning officer Daniel Vick said the proposals should be allowed subject to strict limits on their opening and landscaping being planted to limit their impact.