New Monks Gate homes narrowly approved to cries of ‘shame’ from public gallery

indicative layout of the five new homes in red.
indicative layout of the five new homes in red.

There were cries of ‘shame’ from the public as planning permission for five new Monks Gate homes was given by the narrowest of margins.

The application, for land at the Great Ventors development site, in Monks Gate, was approved on the chairman’s deciding vote after Horsham District Council’s planning committee was divided on Tuesday night (November 6).

The site, south of Nuthurst Road, was split into two parcels by the applicant, who was given outline planning permission to build 10 homes in the western part in 2016.

There were vehement objections to the first application, and the opposition did not fade for the second, with 60 letters being received by the council.

One major concern revolved around the Nuthurst Parish Neighbourhood Plan, which had set aside the land for 9-12 homes, not the 15 the two applications would bring.

Of the four speakers who addressed the meeting to oppose the application, one said that ‘failure to support neighbourhood plans’ could be seen as a ‘betrayal of the communities who worked so hard to put them together’.

Another said Nuthurst had been ‘mis-sold the idea that a parish plan would protect it from overdevelopment’.

Applicant Don Burstow, who has lived in the parish for 40 years, denied the application was a ‘serious breach’ of the neighbourhood plan.

The application was for one two-bedroom bungalow, two three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses.

Mr Burstow told the meeting that he had spoken to neighbours beforehand, agreeing to create a ‘buffer’ between nearby cottages and the new development.

Toni Bradnum (Con, Nuthurst) said 15 houses for a place as small as Monks Gate, which only has just over 40 homes, was ‘huge’, adding: “I wish people would take on board what is trying to be achieved through these neighbourhood plans rather than trying to stretch and change every site. It’s really disappointing.”

There was a smattering of applause from the public for Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South) was said the plan was ‘overdevelopment and overbearing’.

Liz Kitchen (Con, Rusper & Colgate) supported the application with ‘huge reluctance’, telling members that, if it was refused ‘I don’t think we’ve got a leg to stand on if it goes to appeal’.

With the vote split 7-7, committee chairman Karen Burgess (Con, Holbrook East) cast the deciding vote in favour of the application.