Numerous reasons that councillors raised to refuse 75 homes in Storrington have been dropped by the planning committee in the lead up to a developer’s appeal.
On Tuesday (August 19) Horsham District Councillors were asked by the development control committee chairman to clarify their reasons to refuse Barton Willmore’s planning proposal (for land north of Brook Close and Rother Close with an access point from Water Lane) before it goes to appeal this year.
However, committee members noticed that a number of their disputes were whittled down to just the landscape and visual affects (CP1) of the development - leaving out air quality, flood risk and the prematurity of the application.
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) said he does not understand why the council has to limit its reasons to dispute the application and that the council should not be deterred by the threat of legal costs.
He said: “I think we have let the people down because we have paid too much attention to the threats of costs. We have been behaving reasonably in raising these issues to the developer.”
Roger Arthur (UKIP, Chanctonbury) said: “In this report it does not reflect what we agreed. It diminishes our other concerns and that’s wrong.”
Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) reminded members that at the January 2014 meeting, where the application was refused by the committee, officers recommended that reasons for refusal should fall under CP1 (landscape impact).
“At the time there was much debate about refusal and we were advised that if we went forward with any of these points it would not stand up in the appeal and we’d have costs made against us.
“Yes, there are the other issues, but they cannot stand up now with the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework), so we have to go forward with these recommendations.”
Diana van der Klugt (Con, Chantry) said that the council had received a letter from the developer.
She said: “It says that the applicant had previously raised concern that HDC is introducing additional objections, which are outside the scope of the original refusal.
“If they’re referring to the air quality part I would contest that and remind the committee that when the minutes were drawn up, they state that refusal should be based on CP1 and it would be enough to encompass all the other points.”
The committee chairman, Sheila Matthews (Ind, Henfield), reminded councillors that the plan is asking members to clarify just the CP1 objection.
All members voted to approve the reason for objection under landscape and visual effects (CP1). Mr Arthur and Jim Sanson (Con, Chantry) voted against. The item was passed.