Homeowners ‘let down’ in Elsted planning saga

A HISTORIC home in the national park has been the centre of a planning controversy.

Alterations and extensions to Redlands Farm Cottage, near Elsted, were recommended for refusal by Chichester District Council officers after lengthy discussions for the past three years.

However, councillors on the planning committee got behind the plan, saying they felt the applicants Sally and Andrew King had not been best served by the council.

Mr King told the committee the pair had worked with Elsted and Treyford Parish Council to create plans with which the parish was happy, but that there was ‘no such consistency with Chichester’s planning department’.

“We believe our case should now be considered by the planning committee for the first time,” he said at the planning committee meeting.

Councillors appeared swayed by the parish council’s support for the plan.

“As they live locally, I’m quite happy to go along with their decision,” said Cllr Fred Robertson.

Committee member Gordon McAra also spoke in favour of the plan, saying he was ‘very happy’ to support it.

The district council had recommended the plan be refused as it did not believe it was appropriate for the South Downs National Park as an extension to a non-designated heritage asset.

However, the proposal came before the committee after it also got a seal of approval from Elsted’s district councillor, Andrew Shaxson.

Executive director of the district council Steve Carvell joined the debate at one stage.

“It’s clear that the application proposals before you today have been on a journey and there are different views about the twists and turns on that journey,” he said, adding members should not make a decision based on this, but instead focus on the suitability of the plan in front of them.

Councillor Simon Oakley agreed with this.

“Quite frankly, forget about the previous discussion,” he said. “What we have before us is a plan.”

However, members remained sympathetic to Mr and Mrs King.

“I feel in many ways they’ve been very sadly let down for so very long,” said Cllr Julie Tassell.

After refusing the officers’ recommendation, Cllr Robertson recommended approving the application on the grounds it was an appropriate development, with the majority voting in favour.

Planning conditions will now be applied by officers.