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Planning Inspector dismisses appeal for major glasshouse development


A Planning Inspector dismissed an appeal for a major glasshouse development at Easton Farm on Friday (10 August). Madestein had applied to Chichester District Council for glasshouse, office building and associated works on 52 acres of land at Easton Farm, Almodington.

The council's Area Development Control Committee South refused the application in March 2011 on the grounds that the development:

1. is unacceptable in principle due to its location in the countryside outside the Horticultural Development Areas designated in the Local Plan;

2. would have an unacceptable and damaging impact on the landscape due to its size and scale, particularly in the short/medium term as it would not be satisfactorily mitigated by the landscape proposals; and,

3. is not well located in relation to the strategic road network and would result in increased traffic levels, including HGV movements on unsuitable roads.

Madestein appealed against the council's decision. The Planning Inspector, Claire Sherratt, dismissed the appeal today, saying: "I consider the proposed development would be of a height and bulk that, together with the associated activity, would seriously damage the character and appearance of the surrounding area."

Also, on highway safety she concluded: "I am not persuaded that the proposed development would not adversely affect highway safety....I am not satisfied that the scheme of highway works proposed would overcome these concerns..."

In her concluding remarks she said that "a safe and suitable access cannot be achieved..." and that "These concerns together with the serious impacts of the development on the character and appearance of the area are severe."

Cllr Janet Duncton, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing at Chichester District Council, says: "We are delighted that the Planning Inspector has dismissed this appeal. This application would have had a very damaging impact on the landscape and was not well located to the strategic road network being accessed by rural lanes.

"Evidence was given by three expert witnesses on behalf of the council at the appeal in relation to planning policy, landscape and highways impact. Evidence was also given by the appellants, the Almodington Association, The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group, CPRE and National Farmers Union."

Further details of the application can be found on the planning section of the council's website: under reference 10/04990/FUL.