Woodland craft training centre plan for Rogate set for refusal

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Plans for a traditional woodland craft training centre at Rogate look set to get the thumbs down.

The application from the Dangstein Conservancy is due to go to the planning committee at the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) on Thursday (February 9) with a recommendation for refusal.

The plans is to use 11 hectares of woodland at Laundry Cottage for forestry and recreation use including archery, traditional woodland crafting, education and tourism through the provision of six camping pitches, six overnight shelter and a community shelter.

The land was part of the Dangstein Estate which was subdivided and sold by the National Trust in a number of lots ten years ago.

But in their report to the committee planning officers said some of the activities are already taking place on the site and have been the subject of enforcement investigations.

They said the planning application was a result of complaints both to Chichester District Council and the national park authority.

“The application in part seeks to regularise some of the breaches of planning regulations occurring on the site. The commercial forestry would continue on the site alongside the proposals.”

A number of structures had been erected without planning permission, said the officers including a composting toilet and field shelter as well as an occupied residential caravan.

“The applicant states the former will be removed but the latter is the subject of an enforcement investigation by the SDNPA”.

Rogate Parish Council said it did not object to the continuation of commercial forest activity on the site but objected to all other aspects of the proposal.

Parish councillors said they were concerned about future further development adding: “The proposals would result in a significant loss of amenity to adjacent and nearby residents.”

The South Downs Society has objected saying: “The proposed activities would cause visual and other harm to the woodland, wildlife access and light pollution.”

Officers said 102 comments of support had been received and 117 objections.

Although aspects aligned with national park purposes, they reported: “it is considered the breadth and level of those activities and the potential harm that cumulatively they could create, lead to the conclusion the application should be refused.”

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