Case Study: 500,000 sq ft business park, petrol filling station and retail outlet (Horsham District Council),

Background

Our client sought consent to provide a new business park on the edge of Billingshurst, south of Horsham in West Sussex with business units ranging from 290m² to 2,300m², a petrol filling station, ancillary retail units and a drivethru food offering.

Challenge

The land was not allocated for development in either the emerging Parish Neighbourhood Plan or Local Plan, there was concern that a development of this scale would impact the landscape, and was of a scale that was not needed.

Solution

▪ We met the Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group on a number of occasions to introduce the scheme and understand feedback from a key community stakeholder.

▪ We met with site ward members on two occasions. The first occasion was an opportunity to present the scheme and understand their views. The second meeting was an opportunity to update ward members on changes to the scheme as a result of the initial meeting.

▪ We arranged a pre-submission meeting with the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, to update members on the overall progress and final plans, at the meeting the Steering Group voted to support the scheme as there was a lack of local business space.

▪ As the application headed towards committee, we created a community consultation website, providing a link to the council planning portal which enabled residents and businesses to provide feedback on the application, and register support.

▪ We sent two briefing letters to planning committee members prior to committee, highlighting support from officers who accepted that there was an “undersupply” in the district and recommended approval. A central theme in SP Broadway’s communication with committee members was reiterating support from local businesses and Billingshurst & Horsham Chamber of Commerce.

Result

The application was approved 17-1 by members at committee in April 2019. Members who voted to consent the application included two of the three ward members, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Planning

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