New proposals to demolish Sussex village church to make way for housing

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New proposals are being put forward to demolish a Sussex village church and build six houses on the site.

Developers Earlswood Homes are currently seeking planning permission from Horsham District Council to knock down St Crispin’s Church in Pulborough and replace it with three three-bedroom homes and three four-bed properties.

The Catholic church, built in the 1960s, closed in 2019 after a steady decline in the number of parishioners. The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton has since declared it surplus to requirements. Parishioners now attend St Gabriel’s Church in Billingshurst instead.

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Two previous applications to demolish the church and build houses were turned down by the council, mainly on ‘water neutrality’ grounds in that they did not demonstrate that the planned development would not adversely affect the Arun Valley Special Area of Conservation by increased water extraction.

Developers want to demolish St Crispin's Church in Pulborough and replace it with six houses. Photo contributedDevelopers want to demolish St Crispin's Church in Pulborough and replace it with six houses. Photo contributed
Developers want to demolish St Crispin's Church in Pulborough and replace it with six houses. Photo contributed

But Earlswood Homes say they have now come up with a scheme which they say would solve the problem.

They say the development could achieve water neutrality by a combination of on-site water efficiency measures to be installed within the new homes, and the implementation of a system of rainwater harvesting and recycling at a cattle farm within the district.

They add: “The proposed development would not increase mains water demand and would not therefore contribute to, or worsen, purported adverse effects on protected habitat sites in the Arun Valley.”

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St Crispin’s Church is currently within the boundary of a conservation area, but Earlswood Homes say that the proposals would ‘modestly enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area’ and they say: “The proposals make optimal use of a vacant brownfield site to meet housing needs.”