Cider production to continue following planning decision

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A Sussex cider and apple juice farmer will be able to continue business after he gained planning permission to build a storage unit on his land.

Tom Scanlon, of Nuthurst Orchard, Monks Gate, has run his business for three years and now has 300 trees, but without a corrugated iron hut to store a tractor, trailer and juicing equipment, he would be unlikely to be able sustain successful production in the future.

On Tuesday night, after a previous application for a larger shed was turned down, Horsham District Council development management north committee approved Mr Scanlon’s application for the 15m by seven metre hut at his orchard in Nuthurst Road.

Mr Scanlon told the committee he saw his business as bringing back the county’s apple orchard heritage after it was almost wiped out after the Second World War.

Nuthurst Parish Council and local member Duncan England (Con, Nuthurst) did not support the application saying it was too large for a countryside location, but other councillors disagreed.

John Chidlow (Con, Southwater) said: “Farm buildings are seldom very pretty. They have to be economically viable and they need to build something that will do the job without costing too much.”

Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) said: “The thing that swings it for me is paragraph 6.3 [of the report] which says ‘a supporting letter has been included in the application details from the Farm Advisory Services Team, which outlines that an orchard of this size would be unlikely to achieve successful production without sufficient storage space’.”