A new car park for Pulborough railway station hailed as a ‘massive gain’ for the village and 29 homes nearby have both been approved.
A similar application for a 106-space car park to the west of the station and 28 homes north of Stopham Road was refused by Horsham District Council’s Development Control South Committee in November 2015.
Councillors rejected the scheme, jointly put forward by developers and Network Rail, due to the site’s position outside the village’s built up area boundary and its harm to the surrounding area’s landscape, which includes the South Downs National Park.
But on Tuesday (August 16), the same committee approved the new application.
After the meeting Andy Tilbrook, who was representing Pulborough Parish Council, said the decision to approve the application was a ‘no-brainer’ and that they were ‘delighted’.
He thought the scheme could also help tackle persistent flooding in the area through better land drainage.
During the meeting both local members Brian Donnelly and Paul Clarke (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) argued strongly in favour of approval, against the officers’ recommendation.
Mr Donnelly described the new car park as a ‘massive gain for the village’ and thought the station itself should be seen as a ‘treasured strategic asset’ for this part of the Horsham district.
Meanwhile Mr Clarke took a different view from the landscape officer and hailed the benefits of the scheme, which as well as the new station car park include moving the 30mph speed limit further west along Stopham Road, additional pavements to the new housing, and pedestrian controlled signals under the railway bridge.
Andrew Leese, a Stopham Road resident for 32 years, asked the committee to approve the application to rid the village of dangerous parking near the station, while Roger Mortimore explained that a new car park would give those with disabilities step-free access to northbound train services.
Dr Tilbrook raised the issue of people walking down an unlit road back to their cars in the dark during rush hour and suggested the ‘well screened development will not change the price of fish’.
He explained that the scheme was well supported in the village and was in the parish’s emerging neighbourhood plan.
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) said they had refused the scheme last year because they did not want to set a precedent in going against the Horsham District Planning Framework just before its formal adoption, but nine months later he thought it would be ‘impossible to justify that to local residents and they would think we had lost our marbles’.
But Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) added: “To go against the HDPF after all the pain it took to get us there are we going to set a precedent?”
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