Opposition to six gypsy pitches

A BID to use land bordering Penn Gardens and Rectory Lane in Ashington for six Gypsy/Traveller pitches has met with total opposition from Ashington Parish Council.

Permission had been given for three pitches there many years ago, but that permission expired.

A planning application was originally submitted to Horsham District Council by the site owner of Penn Retreat in 2010, for six pitches. The Parish Council along with many villagers, objected to this application on the grounds that the site is too close to Penn Gardens, where a number of homes are privately owned and others rented from Saxon Weald. In addition access is not good.

During 2011 various discussions were held with the owner with a view to using this site instead for a mix of affordable and market priced houses and it was expected that plans for those would be submitted to the district council.

But no social housing provision was included in ensuing plans, which were considered unsuitable.

Since then, the family owning the land has asked that the original application for six pitches should be progressed by the district council.

Ashington Parish Council met to discuss the issue last week and is to object to the proposals. It considers that Gypsy/Traveller pitches so close to a residential area would be totally unsuitable. It is also concerned by limited parking at the site, and lack of good access.

It is asking a planning consultant to make formal objections to Horsham District Council on its behalf.

Horhsam District Council said that everyone previously objecting to the application during 2010-11 will be contacted and will have the opportunity to reconfirm (or change) their previous comments. Ashington Residents’ Association has been told about the plans.