Plans for £14.2m pack house plans in Runcton under fire

Residents have hit out at Natures Way Foods’ £14.2m plans for a large pack house in Runcton.

The Mundham and Runcton Residents’ Association believes the pack house, planned for a site within the Horticultural Development Area (HDA), is a ‘factory’ and has nothing to do with horticulture.

The plans are to be discussed at Chichester District Council’s next southern area development committee meeting next Wednesday..

Mark Neave, the residents’ association chairman said: “Chichester District Council has commendably upheld this principle in a unanimous rejection of the attempt to bring an anaerobic digester power plant onto the HDA.

“We believe almost exactly the same situation is presented by the processing plant application and feel it should be treated accordingly and comprehensively rejected.”

Ian Sedgley, whose home currently backs on to the existing pack house in Runcton, also said the plans should be refused, mainly on the basis the plant is contradictory to the HDA policy because it is an industrial process.

In its application Natures Way Foods said it needed the pack house, a food production facility, to meet an increase in demand for its products.

The main packing building would be 12 metres high, 136 metres long and would lie on land west of Unit 1, Chichester Food Park, Bognor Road. The plant would have between 300 and 400 hundred employees, who would be working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

There would be an estimated 34 heavy vehicle movements daily bringing in raw vegetable matter and sending out the processed products. Residents learnt during a Natures Way Foods presentation that about 80 per cent of raw food materials would be imported on to the site from farms outside the horticultural area.

Mr Sedgley added: “There’s an environmental impact. The food would be brought in by lorries who would have travelled thousands of miles because of the unnecessary reliance of crops from overseas.”

To view the plans quote the planning number 10/03529/FUL.