Land next to Petworth cemetery could become community recreation spot with ponds and benches

Land next to Hampers Green Cemetery, in Petworth, could become a community recreation site, if a new planning application is approved.
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The application, which was submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority earlier this week, seeks permission to recreate a recreational grassland site, including a circular pathway, two wildlife ponds, a viewing spot with a bench, native hedgerows and trees, and installation of dog proof stock fencing.

The applicants at G Farmer Chandler say the proposal is a non for profit venture designed to give the public access to space, and the natural environment while teaching them about regenerative farming practices. If approved, they say the project will be funded by the farming in protected landscape scheme operated by the South Downs National Park, rather than funds from the business itself.

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A Chichester District Council environmental officer has requested the installation of several amenities in order to safeguard local wildlife. These include a bat box position 3 to 5 metres above ground, a hedgehog nesting box, and a bird box. It is hoped these and other measures will offset the impact the development may have on various wildlife habitats.

An aerial view of the site. Picture: SDNPAAn aerial view of the site. Picture: SDNPA
An aerial view of the site. Picture: SDNPA

Despite this, the proposal has attracted some controversy, with one resident writing in to file a formal objection: “Although in principle I believe this proposal to be a good idea for the local community, I feel that this will create more problems with parking in the near vicinity as it will attract many of the professional dog walkers and also tourists who visit Petworth House,” they said.

"We suffer from severe problems with parking on Balls Cross Road even now when Petworth House carpark is full as visitors avoid paying the expensive parking costs to the National Trust. At times, we have cars parked on both side of Balls Cross road and access to emergency services is limited so I do believe creating a recreation site in these fields will add to the parking problems in the near vicinity.”

To find out more about the proposal and write a comment of your own, visit the Chichester District planning portal and search for reference number: SDNP/23/02453/FUL.

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