‘Vicious’ campaign waged against developer

Anthony Watts-Williams
Anthony Watts-Williams

A ‘vicious and sustained’ campaign has been waged by some residents opposing development in Storrington, a developer has claimed.

Permission for a new single-storey house in Veras Walk was rejected by Horsham District Council’s Development Control South Committee on Tuesday.

But during the meeting, Anthony Watts-Williams, acting as agent for the scheme, said residents objecting to proposals had attacked him personally, leaving both himself and his family ‘worried’.

He said: “A vicious and sustained campaign has been waged by those opposing this application.”

Mr Watts-Williams described how posters with his face on them had been distributed, pointing out his position as a councillor on Mid Sussex District Council.

Ann Salmon, a neighbour speaking in objection to the scheme, said overlooking was not the problem, but they ‘did not want to hear people next door munching their cornflakes’.

Fellow objector Richard Palmer raised concerns about the safety of the access and suggested the plot was being overdeveloped, while Patrick Heeley, speaking for Washington Parish Council, explained how there were four applications in the pipeline to develop on garden space within half a mile of each other.

Both local members Paul Marshall and Jim Sanson (Con, Chantry) raised concerns about the impact of the development on the character of Heath Common, and committee members voted to back refusal.

Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) pointed out that they had won appeals where they had objected on the impact to the character of an area and argued the design ‘jars against the much more conventional style of housing that’s common in this neighbourhood’.

Officers said councillors had to look at the scheme and come to a view, but they had found that any harm from the new house would be minor.

Mr Circus replied: “I’m not sure I agree with an insinuation there’s something eccentric about my view. My view is the view of the inspector.”

Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead) added; “I think this is poor design, I think it’s a poorly designed access. I think people ought to be made aware you can’t have infill willy-nilly.”

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