Planning for the future of the Cowdray Estate

Robert Windle, Lord Cowdray’s agent, has spoken to Lynchmere Parish Council about the long process being started to ensure a sustainable plan for the whole of the Cowdray Estate.

Robert Windle, Lord Cowdray’s agent, spoke to Lynchmere Parish Council about the long process being started to ensure a sustainable plan for the whole of the Cowdray Estate.

A large loose-leafed file showed how much work was going into many different facets of the work, and Mr Windle said every page was open for discussion and dismissal.

Lynchmere Parish Council’s chief interest was in what was planned for the farm buildings by Shulbrede Priory.

They are part of Lower Lodge Farm, which is tenanted by Mark Cam’s family, and are currently mainly occupied by a successful game farm.

The buildings, at the northern end of the Cowdray Estate and the northern end of Lower Lodge Farm, are a mix of old stone buildings, Atcost barns and a grain silo.

Although this plan initially is to diversify them into holiday lets, Mr Windle confirmed the current idea was only an outline and it was of primary importance to discuss the plans with the tenant.

The South Downs National Park Authority, with whom Mr Windle had met, becomes involved as it has the ultimate sanction on planning decisions, but the forthcoming Locality Bill will give greater powers to parish councils.

The SDNPA also wanted more details about the economic necessity of the buildings and the possible plans.

Mr Cam had not had any discussions so far with the estate, and confirmed his worries to the parish council.

The buildings were the only buildings he had left on his farm, having given over the other bigger buildings nearer his house to the estate.

They had become the Contract Candles factory.

He needed buildings to house machinery, harvested corn, and fertiliser which had to be stored in the dry or spread almost immediately after delivery, which was generally not convenient.

The buildings were used every day of the year, he said, and a substantial business, the game farm, was run from there.

Because the plans are at such an early stage no decisions have been made about anything, but Mr Windle welcomed views from the parish council, who, through the Neighbourhood Plan, are hoping to extend the conservation area in Lynchmere hamlet.