Campaigners applause as plans for homes in West Chiltington are refused

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There was applause from campaigners after plans to build 14 homes in West Chiltington were refused by Horsham District Council.

The application from Castle Properties for land west of Smock Alley was turned down during a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (April 23).

This was the third time plans had been submitted for development on the site – and the third time they were given the thumbs-down.

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The two previous decisions were also upheld by planning inspectors when appeals were launched.

Plans to develop land on Smock Alley, in West Chiltington, have been refused for the third time by Horsham District Council. Image: GoogleMapsPlans to develop land on Smock Alley, in West Chiltington, have been refused for the third time by Horsham District Council. Image: GoogleMaps
Plans to develop land on Smock Alley, in West Chiltington, have been refused for the third time by Horsham District Council. Image: GoogleMaps

Speaking after the meeting, Sharon Davis, of the Smock Alley Action Group, said: “The West Chiltington community is pleased and relieved at the district councillors’ unanimous decision to refuse the damaging application.

“This third refusal, alongside two appeals, represents a significant waste of taxpayer money and resources.

“The site, deeply unpopular across the village, was rejected due to solid planning grounds, including landscape harm, unsustainable location, ecological sensitivity, and settlement coalescence—issues protected by policy, which the planning inspectorate has upheld twice before.

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“After ten years of stress, our community has united and supported one another to once again fend off this development.”

The council received more than 180 letters objecting to the plans, along with one from South Downs MP Andrew Griffith, who outlined his concerns over the site’s ecological value and its impact on local infrastructure and traffic.

Officers, though, recommended the application be approved.

Committee members were not convinced, raising a number of concerns.

They included the site’s location along a narrow road with no footpaths and a reliance on using cars to get out and about.

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While officers acknowledged that it was ‘not a great site when it comes to accessibility’, they felt the problem was strongly outweighed by the benefits the scheme could bring.

This included five homes which would be classed as affordable.

Members were also concerned about threats to wildlife such as bats and badgers which live in the area, and that the development would move the boundary of West Chiltington closer to neighbouring West Chiltington Common.

There were calls to delay the application until a referendum had been held into the draft West Chiltington Neighbourhood Plan.

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The site is allocated for development in the draft Plan but questions were asked about whether residents would support it.

Officers, though, warned that this would be an unreasonable move.

In the end, the committee disagreed unanimously with the officers’ recommendation to approve and instead backed a call from Philip Circus (Con, West Chiltington, Thakeham & Ashington) to turn it down.

To view the application, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/21/2007.