Revised redevelopment of Earnley Concourse site is refused

Revised plans to build 30 new homes in Earnley have been refused by Chichester District Council officers.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 10:39 am

Back in 2019 Summix ECC Developments applied to Chichester District Council to redevelop the Earnley Concourse site off Drove Lane.

As well as knocking down a number of buildings, the plans would see Earnley Place converted to residential use and 0.7 hectares of open space provided.

The concourse site was a residential centre offering leisure courses and activity weeks but closed back in 2011. It was then used for foreign language students and later advertised as a conference centre and wedding venue.

Earnley Concourse pictured in 2015

A fire broke out in part of the site in October 2019, requiring a large emergency response.

Officers at CDC raised concerns about several elements of the proposed development with the applicant.

But these appeared to have been unresolved as the developer lodged an appeal on the grounds of non-determination in the middle of 2020. A public inquiry to decide the appeal has yet to be held.

Since then a separate application for Earnley Place’s conversion, as well as the reinstatement of the building’s original driveway, has been permitted.

Council planning officers have now refused resubmitted plans for 30 homes on the concourse site.

Both Birdham and Earnley parish councils opposed the scheme, while 38 third-party objections were also received.

Officers said: “It is considered that the minimal revisions carried out in the current application when compared with the scheme for 32 dwellings which is currently at appeal, still result in a development which is unacceptable.”

They concluded the application had not provided enough information about the impact on the nearby Medmerry Reserve as well as suggesting the development was not proportionate to Earnley’s status within the settlement hierarchy and would have a clear and harmful impact on the setting of the conservation area.

They went on to describe how the proposed development’s design had not sufficiently taken the character of the conservation area into consideration and did not provide appropriate infrastructure obligations to offset the impact of the scheme.