Development of Petworth courthouse could bring £188k boost

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PLANS to redevelop Petworth’s former magistrates court, and the vacated care home beside it, could give the town a £188,000 boost.

The proposals from Seaward Properties have been given the go-ahead by Chichester District Council’s northern area development control committee subject to ‘section 106’ agreements to provide developers’ contributions.

These include £158,000 in lieu of affordable housing requirements on the site, nearly £21,000 towards primary education and a further £7,290 towards sustainable transport infrastructure.

Developers have also been told district councillors want an assurance the historic boundary wall will be retained, before final planning permission is granted.

The plans are to demolish the town’s magistrates court building and a three-storey county council care home beside it and build in their place a residential development of nine two-bedroomed houses comprising a terrace of five houses and two semi-detached homes.

The magistrates court has been vacant since the mid l990s. The former 35-bedroomed care home is also empty, with the residents relocated to the new home on part of the former primary school site off Littlecote.

The northern half of the site falls in the Petworth Conservation Area.

Petworth town councillors supported the plan but asked if there was a foundation stone to the old court house, that this could be incorporated in the new development.

There was one objection to the plan from a neighbour who said the development would overlook his house in Fairfield Rise.

Developers say the units have been specifically designed for couples aged 50 and over who are downsizing from larger family homes and initially preference will be given to buyers who currently live within a 30-mile radius of Petworth.

“This approach responds to market demands and is modelled on similar successful and sought-after courtyard developments elsewhere in West Sussex.”

Reporting to members last week, planning officers said: “Due to the siting of the proposed buildings and their orientation relative to the boundaries, it is considered the proposal is likely to prove less overbearing and result in greater privacy when compared to the existing situation.

“Furthermore planning conditions can prevent the formation of new window openings in some locations and can require obscure glazing in others.”