Hectares of polytunnels planned for farm between Chichester and Bognor Regis

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Plans to place 10 hectares of polytunnels at Colworth Manor Farm have been approved by Arun District Council.

The application was given the nod during a meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday (April 19).

With members split equally for and against the plans, it was left to chairman Terry Chapman (Con, East Preston) to use his casting vote in favour.

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The main concern raised during the meeting was the impact the polytunnels would have on views across the Downs.

Application siteApplication site
Application site

Shirley Haywood (Ind, Middleton-on-Sea) said: “I think there’s absolutely no doubt that these polytunnels are going to impact on the landscape.

“They’re going to impact on the long vista that you have as you drive along the A259 into Chichester.

“They’re going to create an industrialisation of a very agricultural landscape, which I don’t think is acceptable in this area.”

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June Hamilton (Ind, Pagham) felt the polytunnels would be too big and ‘a blot on the landscape’.

But Paul Kelly (Con, East Preston) felt the land would be attractive to developers and said he would much rather see it used for polytunnels than a few hundred houses.

The polytunnels will be 8.2m wide and a maximum of 3.65m high.

They will be in place between January and October each year to grow soft fruit such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

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The application also included plans to plant 460m of hedgerow and almost two hectares of wildflower meadow.

A second application, to install 8.77ha of polytunnels at Upton’s Field – also part of Colworth Manor Farm – is being considered by Chichester District Council.