New Christ’s Hospital running track and sports centre extension could go ahead after council U-turn

Plans to build an all-weather running track and expand the sports centre at Christ’s Hospital School could now get the go ahead, despite twice being refused planning permission.

Horsham District Council turned down the proposals because of concerns the development would harm the landschape.

But Christ’s Hospital appealed and the Planning Inspectorate are currently considering the appeal against the refusal by the council for the running track, sports centre extension, car park and floodlit 3G sports pitch.

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But the council has now done a U-turn. It says that ‘new evidence’ has come to light and there is now no longer ‘a defensible reason’ to refuse the application.

Artist's impression of the new running track at Christ's Hospital

The council rejected it in September 2019 on the grounds that the development would result in ‘significant landscape harm’.

But, says the council, since the submission of the appeal, the school has ‘submitted to the Planning Inspector new evidence on the landscape impact, prepared by experienced landscape consultants and in accordance with industry standard methodology.’

A spokesman said: “In light of this new evidence, the council has sought independent advice from a number of landscape consultants and has reluctantly reached the conclusion that there is now no longer a defensible reason to refuse the application on landscape grounds.

“The council will be shortly advising the Planning Inspectorate of this position.

“The appeal will remain live and the appointed inspector will continue in his consideration of all aspects of the development before reaching a decision as to whether to grant planning permission.

“This will include the consideration of all representations made by members of the public and others at both the planning application and appeal stage.”