Battle to build a new petrol station and M&S store

The A264 which bisects Little Clovers Farm, Faygate - the site of a proposed new petrol station and shop SUS-160831-115343001
The A264 which bisects Little Clovers Farm, Faygate - the site of a proposed new petrol station and shop SUS-160831-115343001
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A battle is being waged over plans to build a new BP petrol station and M&S convenience store between Horsham and Crawley.

An initial planning application for the development off the A264 at Little Clovers Farm, Crawley Road, Faygate, was turned down by Horsham District Council.

And an appeal against the decision by developers - the Dorking-based Hunt Group - was also rejected.

Planning Inspector R J Jackson ruled that the petrol station and shop would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

But this week the developers vowed to fight on, saying there was a great deal of support for the proposals.

In a statement, a spokesman for the firm described the appeal decision as ‘disappointing.’

He said the Hunt Group was preparing to submit another application for a petrol filling station and shop and added: “There appeared to be some omissions and lack of evidence which it is believed to be crucial to the success of the next application.”

He said BP had described the area as a ‘first class site to provide both fuel and the potential of an M&S.’

But the planning inspector, rejecting the original application, said that the site was near an area of outstanding natural beauty and currently ‘adds to the overall rural appearance of the area in providing a wide green area.’

He said at the time Horsham District Council considered the application, the site of the proposed filling station was within a ‘strategic gap’ between Horsham and Crawley.

However, the gap no longer applied since the adoption of the Horsham District Planning Framework.

Nonetheless, said the inspector, there were concerns that if the petrol station went ahead it could lead to a joining up of development in the area.

He also said he felt there was no need for a shop because one had already recently opened nearby in Faygate.

The Hunt Group says that it will submit a new planning application before the end of the year.