A developer has apologised for delays to a project delivering a new car park for Pulborough Railway Station and 29 homes for the village.
Developer Willowmead and Network Rail received permission for 23 houses, six flats, and 106-space car park with access from Stopham Road back in August 2016.
Although some objections were received from residents, the project was supported by Pulborough Parish Council and the village’s two district councillors.
However a legal agreement, which secures the delivery of affordable homes and contributions towards infrastructure and community facilities, has still not been completed between the applicant and Horsham District Council.
Agent for the scheme Sati Panesar, from DHA Planning and Development, explained that a legal agreement was now in place and expected to be signed off by all five parties shortly.
He said: “There is no doubt that matters have been delayed for a multitude of reasons involving various parties.
“But really there is little point in pursuing a witch hunt in that regard.”
He continued: “we are now very very close to concluding this matter and I can only apologise for delays.”
Members of Horsham District Council’s Planning Committee South agreed that if a legal agreement has not been concluded by March 23 the application would be refused when they met on Tuesday February 20.
If an agreement has not yet been reached by that date the director of planning and two local members can agree an extension.
Andy Tilbrook, speaking for Pulborough Parish Council, described how the development was considered ‘very very important’ as it would provide disabled access to the London bound platform, provide extra parking spaces, and remove the problem of bad parking from Stopham Road.
He added: “The parish are thoroughly in support of this and encourage the council to approve it and to ensure sufficient time is given for the labyrinthine processes of Network Rail to sign the section 106 agreement.”
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) suggested a deferment as ‘to knock this out of the loop would be a huge error of judgment’.
But officers said a deferral would not achieve the council’s objective which was for Network Rail to sign the agreement as the ‘possibility of refusal has focused them’.
Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), cabinet member for planning and development, said: “I could not support a deferral. I think this has been going on for too long already.”