Parish faces three planning issues

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CONCERNS have been expressed by Ashington Parish Council about plans to create a large wholesale/storage facility on the former Castle Kitchens site, adjacent to the A24 north of Washington.

Although the site is in Washington Parish, the proposed development there would impact on traffic on the A24 and potentially in the village area. For this reason the parish council has objected to this major application.

County councillor for the area, Frank Wilkinson, said: “I have done all I can to make sure that parich council concerns have been taken into account by the highways planning officer dealing with the Castle Kitchens application. I have had two or three ‘desk’ meetings with him to bring attention to every possible scenario that could emerge from such a large wholesale/storage facility on the application site.

“As it stands at moment the county council has asked for a safety audit to be carried out by the applicant at both the A24 junction with the Hollow and the Ashington Hole junction, The county council will then carry out its own internal audit.”

The scheme is also being opposed by Washington Parish Council on traffic safety grounds.

Large numbers of lorries would emerge on to the already congested A24 dual carriage, and lorries accessing the site from the south would have to travel to Ashington, and turn southwards again.

Other planning issues are also causing concern in Ashington, with the site at the roundabout at the northern end of the village having had planning permission for a petrol station and restaurant\café, for some years.

The parish council supported the original scheme as it would improve amenities and create some employment. However, late in 2011 a revised application was submitted which changed the emphasis to a more industrial use.

The parish council has objected to this revised application, and is waiting for news of how the application is being assessed by the district council

But Mr Wilkinson said: “With regard to the filling station application I can’t see that there will be much of an objection from the county council as the highways situation is completely different from the Castle Kitchens site in that the access/egress from the site will be on to an established dualled highway.”

Another main planning issue for Ashington is the plans submitted in 2010 for a traveller/gypsy site at Penn Retreat, at the junction of Rectory Lane and Penn Gardens.

The parish council has been in constant liaison since then with the owner of the site about the possibility of a mix of affordable and marketable homes there instead.

But the owner has now indicated that, following discussions with Horsham District Council, he intends to progress the original application for a traveller\gypsy site.

The parish council is continuing to look at all options for the site, and is committed to objecting to its use as a traveller\gypsy site, as it is felt that this would be entirely inappropriate for the site in question.