Chichester farm aims to meet growing demand for local produce

Colworth Manor Farm reservoir plan
Colworth Manor Farm reservoir plan

The growing demand for local soft fruit appearing on the supermarket shelves and farmers market stalls has led a Chichester farm to request approval to build a new water storage reservoir.

Colworth Manor Farm has submitted a planning application to Chichester District Council for a new water unit, joining the two existing water storage units already on the land.

Harvesting and storing water from wet periods for use in dry periods allows farmers to manage the water supplies and growing environment to improve crop yields, as well as becoming more resistant to droughts and climate change.

Within the planning documents, Mr Hall said: “To enable farming on the coastal plains, efficient water management is essential and rainwater harvesting has become an integral part of most horticultural enterprises of this type.

“Without crop protection only imported soft fruit would dominate our supermarket shelves and farmers market stalls.

“Retailers need to be confident in the reliability of supply for their operating regimes.”

Colworth Manor Farm is located to the east side of the A259 between Chichester and Bognor. The proposed reservoir site is located to the north side of the two existing reservoirs.

Mr Hall added that the use of an electric pump and the pump location submerged under the water in the proposed reservoir makes it almost silent in operation.

James Kenny, archeology officer for CDC, believes that the proposed site may be of ‘archeological interest’ and therefore should be assessed before any building work takes place.

He said: “A site such as this on a promontory of relatively high ground on the coastal plain is likely to have been attractive to settlement and other utilisation of the land throughout the ages.

“It is therefore reasonably likely to contain deposits of archaeological interest.

“In the circumstances, and given the scale of the impact, we should require that ground-works likely to reveal archaeological interest be professionally monitored in order that their significance might be recorded prior to destruction.”

He added: “An archaeological investigation of the site shall be carried out in accordance with a specification to be submitted to and agreed by the District Planning Authority in writing before the commencement of any building works.”

The construction, if approved, is anticipated to take six weeks.

The application is pending consideration with Chichester District Council.

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