Fears over conversion of historic pub

Anger over plans to turn Rising Sun pub, Pondtail Road, Horsham, into a children's nursery. Pic Steve Robards SR1804500 SUS-180214-120031001
Anger over plans to turn Rising Sun pub, Pondtail Road, Horsham, into a children's nursery. Pic Steve Robards SR1804500 SUS-180214-120031001

Residents have been out in force as they continue to campaign against turning an historic pub into a nursery.

Plans to change the Rising Sun, in Pondtail Road, into a day nursery hosting up to 80 children have been put forward to Horsham District Council.

The proposals have received dozens of letters of objection with concerns raised over increased traffic and parking in the area.

Sheila Poynter said more vehicles would be using the road at peak times which would cause ‘serious chaos’.

She said: “I live right by the railway bridge and have done for 46 years so I know the roads from the bridge to the Rising Sun and all the traffic problems that go with it.

“The danger is really the amount of traffic with 80 children you are going to get at least 500 cars minimal a week, probably more.

“There’s dangers of children crossing the road as there is no pavement on the pub side. We had our cat killed in August because of speeding traffic, I don’t want to se a little one being hit.”

She also raised concerns, with only 16 parking spaces in the plans and 19 members of staff proposed, about parents parking in nearby streets when dropping off and picking up their children.

“I know people park on roads but this was a country lane that has been turned into a bit of a rat run,” she said.

“In quite a few worse words it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Tony Hicks, of Broome Close, added: “I wholly object to this due to both disruption of residents lives and safety issues with the current road networks and existing parking issues.”

Conversion of the pub in to a children’s nursery looks set for approval after detailed negotiations over safety and parking fears.

The plans were deferred by the district council’s planning committee in December.

At the council’s planning committee north meeting on February 7 councillors were told changes had been made – but many still questioned if the location would be safe for the facility.

Despite road safety concerns, a lack of objection from West Sussex County Council’s highways team and the amendments left councillors in a tricky situation.

They eventually voted to approve the proposals, subject to further negotiations with ward councillors, highways experts and the applicant.

Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) said it was an ‘odd and bizarre’ location for a nursery. “The applicants must recognise this is a real issue otherwise they wouldn’t have actually put forward these further suggested measures,” he said.

Fellow Conservative ward councillor Peter Burgess shared ongoing concerns, in spite of changes.

But the committee was reminded it would be difficult to fight an appeal without the support of the county council.

Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) said: “This just demonstrates we as a council should be moving forward in getting rid of West Sussex County Council as our highways consultant and bringing in our own regulations.

“(They) frankly haven’t got a clue.”