Horticultural sites need to be protected

A NEED for formal planning protection of horticultural sites around Walberton was stated at a public event.

The sites of the major industry around the village should be preserved against other development.

Parish councillor Susan Sargeant said Arun District Council’s draft local plan omitted the safeguard from its list of proposed policies.

“As far as Walberton is concerned, it is an excellent local plan,” she said, “but there is no mention of a horticulture zone.

“This is a very important industry to us and we want its land designated as a special zone.

“It’s a big industry for us and employs a lot of people and we are fortunate to have it here.”

Mrs Sergeant has been a villager for 21 years and a member of its parish council for eight.

Former parish council clerk John Heathcote said: “I was rather concerned about the development of glasshouse sites impinging on the village.

“But I have been told there’s a presumption that the land will not be used for a different form of development. It has got to be retained for horticulture or agriculture.”

But Mr Heathcote, of The Meadows, said he was pleased the draft version of the land use blueprint assumed only a relatively low number of new houses.

Just six visitors went along in the first hour of the Arun-run consultation session on Tuesday in The Pavilion.

See page 3.