Decision on Steyning block of flats deferred

Plans to build a block of 14 flats in Steyning have been deferred until planning officers have finished reading an 89-page report on water neutrality.

The application for a three-storey building, on the corner of Shooting Field and Toomey Road, was discussed during a meeting of Horsham District Council’s planning committee on Monday (June 21).

It was recommended for refusal on water neutrality grounds, with the report being prepared before officers received an update late last week.

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With this being the only reason given for refusal – and the agent assuring them that water neutrality would be achieved – committee members did not think it fair to turn the application down.

Proposed design of the block of flats on the corner of Shooting Field and Toomey Road in Steyning

The council received 24 letters supporting the plans – and that support was echoed by a number of councillors.

Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury & West Grinstead) said: “I think this development will be hugely welcome by Steyning because they have real problems because there are so few sites to do anything meaningful.

“What’s important to me is this gives us units for first-time buyers, which is important.

“But also there’s an opportunity to do something a bit more meaningful for people who are downsizing.”

Resident Simon Alexander, who also serves as a parish councillor, added: “There is a significant shortfall of houses for both first-time buyers and those looking to downsize.

“This application seeks to deliver that much-needed housing we don’t have in Steyning.”

There was concern from some that no affordable housing was included as it would ‘render the development unviable’.

But the planning officer said: “Members do have to consider the balance between not providing any affordable housing and providing a level of market housing for which there is an additional need within the district.

“That is generally accepted to be a benefit of development irrespective of whether affordable housing is delivered or not.”

If the application eventually receives approval, the block will be made up of two-bedroom flats and will include 111 solar panels, a ‘green’ sedum roof and covered cycle storage.

Another concern centred around the fact that only ten parking spaces were included, so the committee suggested that be increased to 14.