Plans to solve major parking problems in and around Pulborough Railway Station were refused on Tuesday.
Developers and Network Rail’s bid for 28 homes and a 106-space car park west of the railway line off Stopham Road was refused by Horsham District Council’s Development Control Committee.
Councillors felt that it would set a dangerous precedent to go against their almost adopted district-wide planning framework.
But Pulborough Parish Council’s Andy Tilbrook said that they had received ‘woefully inconsistent’ advice from HDC as they prepared of their neighbourhood plan.
He explained that the land had been excluded from their original ‘call for sites’ after advice from HDC as they were expecting a decision on the application before their neighbourhood plan was ready.
Their revised plan, with the site included, has just been submitted to HDC.
Dr Tilbrook said he hoped the refusal was merely a delay for the project, but added: “It’s a complete muddle.”
Both Brian Donnelly and Paul Clarke (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) argued for approval. Mr Clarke said there was a ‘clear necessity’ for a car park to solve commuter parking problems in the village, with a recent survey of residents had shown 91 per cent either strongly or moderately in favour of proposals.
Mr Donnelly added: “I do not think policy should be a roadblock when you have something that has been wanted in Pulborough for decades.”
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) felt that Pulborough residents would not understand a decision to refuse plans, but the majority of councillors disagreed.
Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of the council, said: “I do not think we should be doing anything councillors that puts at risk all the work we have done over the last three years. I think it would be a very silly move.”
Residents argued as well as solving parking issues, plans could provide disabled access to the northbound platform and some affordable housing.
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