A Greatham resident living on a historical conservation site said two development proposals for ‘luxury’ homes will ‘devastate’ the area.
Rosalind Englehart was born at her Grade II listed manor house in 1946, christened and married at the neighbouring Grade I listed church, and overlooks a Grade II listed granary barn - all located in the idyllic countryside setting of Manor Farm in Greatham Lane.
“All of us around here feel that Greatham is a community asset, it’s unique because of its setting, rural tranquillity and because it’s a totally isolated settlement,” said Mrs Englehart. But two applications by separate developers have been submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) to each build a large home on the ancient Hamlet - one of which includes plans to convert the Grade II listed barn.
“There is a great amount of local feeling about this. There are over 90 individual objectors now, as well as many of the local and national bodies,” said the 66-year-old.
The groups that Mrs Englehart speaks of includes the Wiggonholt Association, the Amberley Society, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, South Downs Society and Campaign to Protect Rural England.
“It isn’t about us, there is huge local feeling about the special qualities of Greatham - I want to preserve it for future generations. People visit the church from all over the world.”
Inside the 12th century church a visitors book is filled with tourist comments from across the globe, including Dar es Salaam, New Zealand, Johannesburg, Argentina and India, to name just a few.
The two current applications is the third instance that a developer has submitted a plan to build on the conservation area - starting in 2007, 2010 and the latest plans being introduced in October 2013.
Mrs Englehart talks about the ‘trap’ of which Horsham District Council (HDC) and the SDNPA has fallen into.
“HDC started the ball rolling by focussing entirely on the preservation of the other farm buildings on the site, which by then were very decayed, and since everybody has fallen into the same trap - the developers, advisors to HDC and SDNP - they have had no regard at all to the overall impact of this huge oversized, unsuitable, luxury development.
“This application is a real test of the South Downs National Park actually. A number of people have said in their objections if this is allowed one has to question the purpose for which the Park was created.”