An application for a 23-caravan holiday park in Cowfold was unanimously rejected by Horsham District Council on the grounds it ‘breaks from the district’s developmental plan’.
On Tuesday, Horsham District Council’s planning committee (south), heard an application for woodland in Cowfold Road to be converted into a holiday park comprising of 23 units and a new vehicular access point.
However, councillors were concerned the units would have an adverse effect on the site’s ecology levels.
Councillor Jonathan Chowen said: “Ten years ago we would have gone ahead with this application and would have been happy with it. But now we care about woodland and ecology far more.
“This is significantly good woodland. If we do not protect our wildlife, what sort of world will we live in?
“This is where we should take our stance.”
The application sought full planning permission for 23 caravan pitches which would occupy 1.9 hectares of the 4.4 hectare site.
The application stated the 23 holiday lodges would be sold to allow purchasers to use them for holiday purposes only, for themselves, their family and their friends.
However, councillors felt the new units would serve as ‘secondary homes’ rather than holiday lodges.
Mr Chowen added: “This application is for holiday lodges but really they are for secondary homes for some people.
“When we are worried about homelessness and housing shortages should we really be thinking about secondary homes?”
Councillor Ray Dawe said the site could not be classed as a ‘tourist proposition’ and it ‘would not encourage tourism’.
Members of the committee were supportive of plans to economically grow the site, but many felt the ecological reasons ‘outweighed’ any potential economic improvements.
Councillor Claire Vickers said: “I support economic growth, however, this is a place of woodland and the application is not adequate in dealing with its objections.”
Mr Chowen submitted an alternative motion to refuse the 23-unit caravan park application on the grounds it was ‘a departure from the developmental plan, the benefits did not outweigh the economic growth and the impact it could have on the site’s ecology’.
Committee members voted unanimously in favour of Mr Chowen’s motion to refuse the application.