Park plan is vetoed

Fears about the impact of a proposed caravan park in Climping led to its rejection by councillors.

Farmer James Baird wanted to create 134 pitches for use by up to 469 holidaymakers on Ryebank Farm.

But his proposal was decisively refused planning permission by Arun District Council’s development control committee.

Members agreed by nine votes to nil, with two abstentions, at last Wednesday’s meeting the caravan park’s size, intensity and location would harm the strategic gap which separates the urban areas of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

They also agreed the scheme’s impact on the countryside was contrary to its planning policies designed to protect rural areas.

They additionally decided the site’s size, intensity and location were not environmentally acceptable.

Mr Baird wanted to create the caravan park as a farm diversification scheme on 8.4ha of his farmland off Grevatts Lane.

Its opening times were intended to be March 1 to October 31.

As well as the pitches, he proposed a central facilities building with a shower room, shop and laundry and a toilet block.

These would have been located on the footprint of two disused glasshouses to the south of the existing concrete works.

A total of 171 letters of objection the plan was received by Arun.

Protests from Climping Parish Council and the Middleton-on-Sea Association were received as well.

Cllr Terry Hockley, the chairman of Climping Parish Council, told the committee the plan was completely unacceptable.

“The site is located in a sensitive countryside area and on a protected and distinctive coastal plain.

“We have a serious issue about the access to it.

“The only public highway which can be used is the overcrowded A259,” he said.

He also said the caravan park posed a serious risk to the nearby Bailiffscourt Hotel.

The success of the ‘historic and iconic’ building would be threatened by the presence of a caravan park on its doorstep.

Ten full-time jobs would be at risk there.

“Why gamble with the future of Climping’s largest and most famous business?” he asked.

Climping resident Pete Cashfield said the caravan park would only generate two full-time and two part-time seasonal workers.

The users of the caravan park would also spend less in the area than the hotel’s guests.

The impact of the caravans on the area’s wildlife would be equally serious.

A total of 218 species of birds had been seen there and 429 species of plants.

But Mr Baird said he had located the caravan park on grade three farmland to lessen its impact.

“I would like to re-assure you I have lived in Climping since birth and I have a deep-held affection for my farm and its surroundings.

“I would not do anything to undermine that,” he said.