Decision Maker: Planning Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
[Councillor Edwards arrived during this item.]
4 Public Speakers
David Campion – Objector
Richard Wilkinson – Agent
Councillor Gill Yeates – Arun District Council Ward Member
Polytunnels for soft fruit production (resubmission following BE/106/22/PL). This site is in CIL Zone 3 (Zero Rated) as other development.
The Planning Area Team Leader presented the report. This was followed by 4 Public Speakers. A number of Members who spoke raised concerns with this application. There was concern that the polytunnels would industrialise an agricultural area and detrimentally impact the landscape and the views to the South Downs from the A259 towards Chichester. Clarification was sought on the nature of the proposed buffer zone, whether it would be completely clear of materials and how this would be maintained. The need to support those making a living from the land was noted but whether the cost was too great in this application due in part of the size of the area being proposed, its location within a strategic gap and the ongoing water demands of the site in a water stressed area. The need to protect the countryside, even from agricultural development was also discussed.
One Member, speaking broadly in support of the application, stressed the need for consistency in terms of policies applied by Chichester District Council due to the site’s location in the strategic gap between Bersted and Chichester, whilst providing protection to Arun’s countryside. It was noted that Chichester District Council had approved polytunnels. It was considered that the application was seeking to enhance agricultural activity in the area and the agricultural economy of the District more generally, an argument often used by those against largescale housing developments, and that the use of polytunnels was an inevitable part of this activity. Another Member noted that as polytunnels were not permanent, he would rather see these than more housing in the area.
Following the discussion, the Group Head of Planning noted that justification for use was not a material planning application and that the strategic gap policy was not a landscape designation and rather an anti-coalescence designation, that the two were not the same thing and so issues of landscape had to be separated from matters of the strategic gap. The recommendation was then proposed by Councillor Bower and seconded by Councillor Kelly.
That the application be APPROVED CONDITIONALLY as detailed in the report subject to the conditions as detailed.
Report author: Jonny Cooper
Publication date: 24/05/2023
Date of decision: 19/04/2023
Decided at meeting: 19/04/2023 - Planning Committee