Workers’ caravans at a Walberton nursery must go

Retrospective plans to continue the use of land at a Walberton nursery for 14 caravans for agricultural workers have been refused by Arun District Council.

An application was submitted for the continuation of use of land at Cherry Tree Nursery, Eastergate Lane, for the stationing of 14 agricultural workers’ caravans for a temporary period of two years.

Arun planners said the caravans were occupied and had been located there since April 2020 with occupation delayed by Covid until July or August 2020.

They said the site plan showed the 14 caravans as being spread around the site around 5m apart and the proposals included a utility building and a refuse collection point to serve the caravans’ occupants.

Retrospective plans for 14 workers' caravans at a Walberton nursery have been refused

The application form proposes eight car parking spaces, however this is not shown on the Site Plan, they said.

Objections were received from Walberton Parish Council and 18 residents.

Concerns included the application being the start of a process to obtain residential use on this site, which had been rejected previously.

Other objections were potential contamination due to previous uses, the site being outside the built-up area and settlement boundary, lack of facilities and access, flooding, there being no connection to on-site agriculture or horticulture or evidence of the employment of the occupants.

In their decision, Arun officers said: “The development introduces temporary workers’ accommodation into a countryside location, and no clear evidence has been provided that these are exceptional circumstances where the structures are absolutely essential for the provision of staff accommodation to facilitate the economic running of an agricultural or horticultural holding.

“Its countryside location is unacceptable in principle and is not justified.

“The development of 14 caravans with up to 30 rural workers on this size of site is excessive, overdevelopment, and an over-intensive use with a high number of coming and going of occupants which results in an unacceptable level of general noise and disturbance to neighbouring occupants.

“This results in a significant negative impact on neighbouring amenity and the quiet enjoyment of their properties.

“The submitted Site Plan does not show any space or provision for on-site car parking, turning and manoeuvring.

“As such, the application fails to provide adequate parking provision on-site, which could result in on-street parking pressures and highways safety issues.”

To view the decision go to the Arun District Council planning portal and use the search reference WA/37/21/PL.

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