‘Planning system fails ordinary people’

Councillor John Chidlow suggested the planning system was 'unworkable' for anyone other than large developers with deep pockets
Councillor John Chidlow suggested the planning system was 'unworkable' for anyone other than large developers with deep pockets

The national planning system does not help ordinary people and is ‘unworkable’ for anyone except large developers, a councillor has suggested.

Horsham District Council’s Planning Committee North went against an officers’ recommendation and approved a bungalow to the rear of an existing property off Brighton Road in Lower Beeding last Tuesday (August 1).

Captain Michael Lloyd, a well-known resident of Lower Beeding pictured in 2013, saw his application approved by councillors

Captain Michael Lloyd, a well-known resident of Lower Beeding pictured in 2013, saw his application approved by councillors

Captain Michael Lloyd explained that he and his wife were having to downsize due to health problems, but after an extensive search could not find anything suitable in the parish.

After living in Lower Beeding for 40 years, he said they ‘really do not want to leave it’ and asked the committee ‘for some compassion to be shown’.

The new single-storey three-bedroom house, which includes a detached triple garage, would be built on a disused paddock behind their existing property.

Officers argued that the proposal went against the adopted Horsham District Planning Framework, was ‘backland’ development in a countryside location, and was outside the village’s built up area boundary.

However Toni Bradnum (Con, Nuthurst) spoke in support as she described how the district is ‘woefully short of accommodation for elderly residents’.

She suggested these types of applications provide appropriate retirement accommodation and could also free up family sized homes.

She added: “I do not disagree this is outside our policy area but the fact is we are here to represent residents. The application is not necessarily wrong, maybe it’s our policies that are wrong.

“Where are old people supposed to go? Where am I going to go?”

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), cabinet member for planning and development, sided with officers and argued approving the application would ‘set a dangerous precedent’.

The application was backed by Lower Beeding Parish Council and the council received 14 letters of support from residents.

John Childow (Con, Southwater) suggested there was ‘no justification’ on planning grounds to approve the scheme, but also argued there was also ‘no logical grounds for refusing the application’.

He agreed with Mrs Vickers that ‘setting this precedent is building up problems for the future’, but added: “The National Planing Policy Framework is really unworkable for anyone except large developers with deep pockets.

“It does not help the ordinary person to make a sensible application.”