Residents have lost the battle to save an historical hamlet from two housing developments after the South Downs National Park granted its approval last week.
Objector Rosalind Englehart was born at her Grade II listed manor house that is surrounded by a Grade I listed church, and a Grade II listed granary barn in Manor Farm, just off Greatham Lane, but applications to build two new homes on the conservation site have been approved by the South Downs Nation Park Authority (SDNPA) this month.
The 66-year-old said: “We are left - as are all 90 objectors - feeling devastated and wondering seriously whether the National Park authority serves any purpose.
“Its statutory duty is to protect places like this not turn them as one speaker said into an ‘ostentatious establishment’ which confer no benefit whatsoever on the local communities. Sadly I fear the jewel which was Greatham will soon be unrecognisable.”
Four applications were submitted to the SDNPA by two separate applicants - one by Stephen Davies for the conversion of redundant farm buildings, including the Grade II listed granary barn into a single dwelling, along with a separate application for listed building consent; and another by Alex Thompson for the conversion of redundant farm buildings into a single dwelling, including a proposed new build extension and new outbuildings, also accompanied by an application for listed building consent.
All four applications were granted approval at the meeting on May 8 at the Midhurst Centre, but were subject to conditions.
These conditions included contributions towards infrastructure improvements for local libraries and fire and rescue services, for both applicants to uphold.
Chair of the SDNPA Planning Committee, Andrew Shaxson, said: “Members of the planning committee expressed their thanks to all who commented upon this application both for and against.
“Members felt that, on balance, the proposals were appropriate for the historic buildings and the sensitive setting and character of this tranquil conservation area.”
Horsham District Councillor Diana van der Klugt, said: “This was a sad day for those who feel passionately about the future of the Greatham conservation area, which encapsulates so many of the special qualities of the South Downs National Park. Its character will be changed forever.
“The advice of Horsham District’s Strategic Planning Team that this scheme was contrary to Horsham District’s planning policy was also swept aside and the purposes for which the SDNP was created were scarcely considered.
“The scheme has caused a deep rift in the local community.
“It is of great concern to me that there was no consultation here by the developer with local people.”