Enforcement action debate for Plaistow farm delayed further

Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm -  picture submitted SUS-140210-162931001
Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm - picture submitted SUS-140210-162931001
  • Farm’s controversial planning application was refused by West Sussex County Council
  • Councils disputing enforcement action responsibilities
  • Meeting delayed for further discussions

Residents fighting a controversial energy farm have suffered yet another setback.

Enforcement action at Crouchland Farm in Plaistow was due to be considered by West Sussex County Council’s planning committee this week. However, it was dropped from the agenda because the contentious item was still being passed between Chichester District Council (CDC) and West Sussex County Council (WSCC).

Villagers have fought a long war against Crouchland’s after it submitted a retrospective application to gain planning approval for energy production equipment.

A spokesman for WSCC said: “We have had to defer the item relating to any enforcement action that may be taken against Crouchlands. This is because discussions are still ongoing between WSCC and CDC.

“We will bring this matter back to the earliest possible future meeting that we can.”

District councillor for Kirdford and Wisborough Green Josef Ransley said: “This Crouchlands planning issue was already immersed in a sea of technical and legal detail. It is now bogged down in a legal difference of opinion between officers of two local planning authorities.

“Whilst all these disagreements are debated, the unauthorised operation continues to function.

“The handling of this issue is now bordering on the absurd. Breaches of planning control have been identified and prompt enforcement action should have been instigated and taken.

“I’m clear in my mind that WSCC officers have failed to reasonably engage with their counterparts at CDC.”

He added: “I’m pleased that WSCC have agreed to talk to CDC rather than just pass over the enforcement question to them, CDC without their prior agreement, which in my view, was neither a reasonable or responsible way for one authority to act towards another.”

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Campaigners’ anger at West Sussex County Council Crouchland Biogas delays