Plans to house agricultural workers at Pagham nursery

Site location plan for Newlands Nursery showing where accommodation for seasonal workers would be sited
Site location plan for Newlands Nursery showing where accommodation for seasonal workers would be sited

Plans to accommodate agricultural workers at a nursery north of Pagham have sparked a barrage of objections from residents.

Newlands Nursery in Pagham Road is part of the Roundstone Group, which employs 350 seasonal workers over 11 sites across the south coast.

Some of these are currently living at the former South Downs Holiday Village in Bracklesham Bay, but this is due to be redeveloped for housing.

An application has now been submitted to Arun District Council for Newlands Nursery for the ‘year round retention of seasonal workers accommodation’.

A total of 31 units would be occupied by between 93 and 186 workers from February to November on the south side of the nursery.

According to the application agricultural holdings already enjoy permitted development rights for seasonal workers’ accommodation during the growing season and Roundstone would be able to take advantage of this at Newlands.

However the proposal is to remove a restriction requiring the caravans to be removed at the end of each season so they could be stored on-site all year round.

The applicant says: “There is no intention to create permanent dwellings or occupy the units between the end of November and the end of January (off season) each year.

“The retention of the units allows for permanent services to be laid and better quality accommodation provided for the workforce that return each year, enabling a reduction in movements on and off site and in the frequency that the units have to be connected and disconnected to the sewerage system, reducing risk of spillages.”

The application has attracted vocal opposition from residents raising concerns about congestion and road safety, a lack of pavements, flooding, as well as the impact on nearby properties, the countryside and wildlife.

One objector wrote: “The repercussions for the area are enormous and we do not simply have the infrastructure to home this many people.”

Another said: “Totally unsuitable site as there is nothing in the area except private properties close by and the quality of life of the owners will be ruined.”

Several representations question if all those living on site would work at Newlands or if some would instead be transported to other Roundstone sites.

One objector said: “This will be used as a hub to distribute workers around the area and not just for workers on site.”

To comment visit www.arun.gov.uk/weekly-lists using code P/38/19/PL.