Replacing Bosham business space with new homes is refused
The application, for Cockleberry Farm, in Main Road, was turned down during a meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday (June 15).
A report to the committee recommended the application for approval, saying the buildings on the site were ‘obsolete and not fit for continued commercial occupation’.
But this view was vehemently contested by businesses operating from the site.
Julius Thurgood, a stylist and set designer, uses one of the units to store theatrical props.
He told the meeting he had maintained the building to ‘a good working standard’, including rewiring, plumbing and replacing the main doors.
Mr Thurgood – whose work includes contracts for the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival – said he had received no notice of the plans to develop the site and would be unlikely to be able to find suitable premises elsewhere.
He added that the development would be ‘another nail in the coffin of indigenous local enterprise’.
Chris Snowdon, who has operated his classic car restoration business out of another of the units for around 20 years, also said he had received no notice.
Mr Snowdon told the meeting he employed a number of people on a sub-contract basis.
He added: “Trying to find new premises for such a business is going to be really difficult and an uphill struggle.
“Too many small businesses are disappearing and never being replaced. Sad times.”
The committee held a lengthy discussion about the plans, raising concerns about the access to the site, the maintenance of a drainage ditch, the future of the businesses and the need for affordable homes in the area.
Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment, said there was a need for affordable, smaller homes in the area.
David Rodgers (Lib Dem, Harbour Villages) felt the application would ‘destroy jobs’.
Simon Oakley (Con, North Mundham & Tangmere) suggested the application be refused on the grounds of the loss of active employment land and flood risk/water management issues concerning the drainage ditch.
While officers were not confident the latter could be successfully defended should an appeal be called, the committee supported Mr Oakley and the plans