Henfield nursery rejection ‘disappointing’

Jack Dunckley's Birchfield Nursery artists impression SUS-150402-121010001
Jack Dunckley's Birchfield Nursery artists impression SUS-150402-121010001

A young entrepreneur has expressed his disappointment after plans to expand his Henfield businesses were rejected by the council last month.

Jack Dunckley, 21, submitted a planning application to expand Birchfield Nursery, in Kidders Lane, last year.

Jack Dunckley SUS-150402-120959001

Jack Dunckley SUS-150402-120959001

The plans outlined the creation of a new multi-purpose building with retail, office and exhibition spaces and was recommended for approval.

However, councillors refused the application at Horsham’s District Council’s Development Control South Committee meeting due to the size of the building and the impact it would have on the local surroundings.

In a post committee report councillors claimed the building was ‘at odds with the rural character of the site’ and would not relate ‘sympathetically to its surroundings.’

Mr Dunckley said: “It is disappointing. We felt that the result was unfair. We have already got permission for a larger building which ran out this year. For the council to turn it down when I had permission for a bigger building is a bit frustrating.”

The council received 125 letters of objections to the application as well as a petition with more than 150 signatures supporting the proposals.

But the 21-year-old said there had been a lot of objections due to a ‘misconception’ amongst residents about the proposals.

He said: “There has been a misconception that we are going to put housing up here. That is simply not true. That is not what we applied for.

“The building will create new jobs, design facilities a gardening workshop and would have become a horticultural hub. Students could come down and study in the library as well as use the garden design studios and workshops.”

Mr Dunckley will be appealing the decision and said the plans are necessary to make sure the nursery has a secure future.

He said: “We will definitely be appealing. We are not a garden centre, we are a thriving nursery but we have to look to the future. Nurseries by themselves are not surviving and they are slowly going out of business which is why we have had to look at other revenue streams.

“If we have meeting rooms we can let them out or a proper coffee shop which can bring in money. Having facilities in the area like a coffee shop people are going to come here all year round and help the business continue.”