Controversial plans to build eight homes in a paddock at Storrington Road, Thakeham can go ahead, an appeals inspector has decided.
Inspector David Smith, dealing with an appeal by Croudace Homes, said that some representations claimed the sale of the land would raise funds for the maintenance of St Mary’s Church, Thakeham.
“However, this is not the appellant’s case and there is no mechanism in place to ensure that the monies raised are spent in this way.
“Therefore any argument about ‘enabling development’ forms no part of my assessment,” he said.
Mr Smith said that main issued were the effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding are and whether the location was accessible. The eight homes proposed were very modest and the overall visual impact would be lmited by vegetation and he said the scheme would be a typical, unobtrusive form of village expansion of sufficent high quality to complement the settlement.
Existing trees would be retained alongside the access road and the end of some gardens, there were footways to the village centre in Storrington and the volume of traffic from the site would not be significant. Conditions relating to surface water drainage and ecological management will be imposed.
The land used for the development had been left to St Mary’s Church, Thakeham, in a bequest.
Plans to build on the site were instigated because development was seen as the only way in which significant revenue could be raised for the church.
The money is needed to fund urgent costly repairs to the church roof and fabric, and for which the church has no funds.