Easton Farm, Almodington

Paul Basham Associates were appointed by Chichester District Council to defend at appeal their members decision to refuse planning permission for 21 hectares of greenhouses for the commercial production on lettuce on the Manhood peninsula.

The Brief

Despite no objection from West Sussex highways, members refused this application on highway grounds, concerned with the level of HGV traffic the proposals would generate on narrow and rural lanes through Batchmere and Almodington.

Paul Basham Associate were appointed initially to critically appraise the proposals submitted with the application, the response of WSCC highways, and subsequently represent Chichester at the Public Inquiry.

Our Approach

In defence of the third reason for refusal “The development is not well located in relation to the strategic road network and would result in increased traffic levels including HGV movements on unsuitable roads in the area which would be detrimental to highway safety”, the focus of the Proof of Evidence was to accurately quantify the number of HGVs generated by the development proposals and subsequently the suitability of the road network between the site and the A286.

The strength of our Proof of Evidence led to the appellant’s representatives submitting extensive additional designs for the implementation of 15 formal HGV passing places on these lanes, requiring retaining features into ecologically sensitive ditches and loss of boundary and highways trees. Nevertheless, these passing place designs still fell short of the necessary design standards, requiring inter-visibility splays across third party whilst simultaneously urbanising the road.  

Following 9 days of Public Inquiry, the appeal was adjourned and subsequently reconvened for a further 3 days due to the publication of the NPPF during the middle of the Inquiry.

The Result

The Inspector dismissed the appeal, with “serious concerns about the amount of and nature of the additional traffic that would be generated along this rural lane and the highway safety implications”, concluding that “a safe and suitable access can not be achieved. These concerns together with the serious impacts of the development on the character and appearance of the area are severe”.

Furthermore, Chichester District Council were awarded partial costs, with the appellant and Inspector agreeing that in submitting the revised scheme of highways works at such a late stage they had acted unreasonably.