Crawley flats on small car park next to level crossing refused again

Plans to build 15 flats on a small car park next to a level crossing have been refused again by Crawley Borough Council.

The outline application for the site in Station Way was turned down during a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (January 11).

It was third time unlucky for applicant Simco Homes Ltd, which saw almost identical plans turned down by the committee last January and then dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal.

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While a number of changes have been made since then, neither planning officers nor the committee were impressed.

Plans for 15 flats in Station Way have been refused for the second time by Crawley Borough Council. Image: Simco Homes Ltd

Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield) said the development, which would include a coffee shop and space for another commercial unit, was ‘too big, too dense and in the wrong place’.

He added: “This is a site that could take a smaller building, but this is just ridiculous.”

The site, on the junction with Brighton Road, has been something of an eyesore for years, being used as a car park for barely a dozen cars and often dotted with large weeds.

Kim Jaggard (Con, Maidenbower) agreed that something needed to be done – but something more acceptable than what was being proposed.

Plans to build 15 flats next to a level crossing in Crawley have been refused. Image: GoogleMaps

She said: “I think it would be nice to have something there. I was thinking that a mini-park would be lovely but I don’t see that happening.

“I just can’t believe they’re still trying to get a building of this size and bulk on that land.”

After having their appeal dismissed in November, Simco Homes made a number of changes to the application.

They included rearranging the ground-floor bedrooms, removing the ground-floor windows which faced Station Way and adding a green wall, and adding cycle stands in front of the commercial unit, making a total of 38 bike stands including those inside the building.

It was all to no avail, though.

Officers laid out nine reasons to refuse the application, including substantial overdevelopment of the site, the ‘dominant and unattractive’ appearance of the building, and fears future occupiers would suffer ‘significant disturbance’ with noise from the road and railway.

A report to the committee said the design ‘remains very poor’ and added: “Overall, the applicant has failed to address all the reasons that the inspector used to dismiss the recent appeal.

“The proposal is considered to be of extremely poor quality and to represent substantial over-development of the site.”

To view the application, log on to planningregister.crawley.gov.uk and search for CR/2021/0621/OUT.