New homes plan would ‘overpower’ former pub

PLANS to build six homes near to the Listed Elephant and Castle former pub in West Chiltington were emphatically rejected when Southern Planning Practice’s application to Horsham District Council was discussed by the parish council’s planning committee last week.

Fifty-eight residents crowded into the room and supported the unanimous rejection of proposals.

They also commented on change of use already given for the Elephant and Castle from public house to a private residence, saying much had been made in the paperwork of a suggestion that the pub was no longer viable. They refuted claims by developers that the pub was no longer viable and that no new tenant had been forthcoming.

There were scathing comments about the plan to build six homes, with separate car port and car parking on land adjacent to the historic village pub, and the overall view was that it did not meet any local housing need and that it constituted overdevelopment of the site and would create traffic problems.

Parish clerk Tony Thomas has forwarded objections to Horsham District Council.

Relating to the new buildings on the edge of the Conservation and next to the Grade II Listed pub, the committee agreed they not only failed to enhance the Listed Building, but instead they overpowered the building.

It has commented that this vast reduction of the space around the pub would leave it with a postage stamp of a garden, contrasting with the former acres of meadow and orchards.

“The outlook to the front of the Listed Building will be over a car park containing the cars of the owners of the new dwellings with barely a metre between the building and the roadway. The ridge of houses 2-4 running north/south on the plot will be some 2.5 metres higher than the ridge of the Elephant

and Castle building, totally dominating the skyline and the Listed Building, particularly when viewed from Hayling Pond Green, looking over the top of Hayling Pond Cottage, another Listed Building and from Curbey Close,” the committee has said in its obections to the council.

Other major concerns relate to traffic flows and numbers have been compared with the former use of the site as a public house but the committee says timing of use will be very different.

“The flow from housing will be mainly throughout the day, adding to the morning congestion at the top of Church Street due to the school, whilst the pub opened at lunchtime and in the evening, periods when there was little traffic in Church Street,” it said.

Referring to change of use for the pub, it was said: “Much is made in the paperwork that the pub was no longer viable and that following marketing no new owner was forthcoming so the building was given residential status.

“However at our latest meeting the previous tenant claimed to have submitted an offer to take over the pub with the backing of another brewery. He also said the design and access statement submitted by the applicant mentioned that ‘the brewery dray would visit a number of times a week’, hardly indicative of a failing business as claimed.

“Another person had their offer to buy the pub building, accepted- only for the land area included to be changed by the brewery. Southern Planning Practise Ltd, agents for the brewery, claimed on their website that they resisted the council’s request for additional marketing to be undertaken.

“It is open to question whether the brewery did seriously look for a buyer or whether they were determined to retain the plot of land and current access with a view to future development.”