Plans by South Downs-based game meat business to relocate are refused

Plans to change the use of a stable to a game meat processing workshop have been refused by Horsham District Council.

The application for the barn at Woodmans Farm, Ashington, was turned down during a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (January 25).

While officers recommended the plans from Chanctonbury Game be approved, councillors raised concerns about road safety, water neutrality and the impact the business would have on neighbouring properties.

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While explaining his concerns about the access to the site, off of the A24, Philip Circus (Con,  West Chiltington, Thakeham & Ashington) described the junction as a ‘very difficult’ one.

The stable building in question (Google Maps)

He added: “You suddenly come upon it. There’s no deceleration slipway, you just suddenly find the road leaves the A24.”

The council received no objections from the West Sussex highways team, either relating to the access or to the amount of traffic which would visit and leave the site – another concern of councillors.

This prompted John Blackall (Con, West Chiltington, Thakeham & Ashington) to add: “How West Sussex County Council can say the amount of traffic – which will increase – is not a hazard is beyond me.”

Responding to those concerns, applicant Anthony Skeet said: “It’s not Smithfield meat market we’re going to be running.”

Mr Skeet explained that Chanctonbury Game had spent the last 24 years operating out of North Farm, on the Wiston Estate – a home which he had not wanted to leave.

He added: “We’re a local, small family firm, producing local jobs and supplying local food, which we ought to be supporting in this current climate and [with] the way things are going.”

Water neutrality has become a priority since advice from Natural England that sites should not increase pressure on water resources.

Mr Skeet assured the meeting that water was not used during the production process, only at the end of the day during the wash-down.

He submitted a Water Neutrality Statement demonstrating that his business’s water consumption would be lower than that of the stables.

But herein lay another problem – there was some confusion over the current use of the stables.

While a report to the meeting said it had most recently been used as a racing stable for up to 22 horses, others said it was ‘long-abandoned’ or housed only a couple of ponies.

Proposing the application be refused, Mr Circus said it had ‘not been demonstrated that the proposal results in a water neutral development because of the concerns over what the existing lawful use is of the site’.

Concerns about the highway safety and the impact an increase in activity would have on neighbouring properties were added to that motion and the application was refused.

To view the application in full, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/21/1756.