HAILED as a blessing for busy roads on the Manhood Peninsula, a 1.6ha grain store at the Chichester Food Park has been given the thumbs-up
The building by Natures Way Foods is predicted to cause a net loss of 166 tractor and HGV movements a week on the B2145 road to Selsey.
“For those of us who represent the Manhood Peninsula, it can only be an absolute godsend,” said district councillor Tricia Tull at a meeting of the planning committee last Wednesday.
The large grain store in Runcton will replace or consolidate six smaller existing storage facilities – two of which are in Selsey. There are also two in Petworth, one at Lagness and one in Yapton.
“We’re always being told that Selsey is the busiest B-road in the country – to be proved – but we know how busy it is,” said councillor Janet Duncton.
She said it was the ‘ideal position’ as it would relieve some of the minor roads, allowing all the farms in the area to bring the produce to one site.
But concern was also raised at the meeting that it could contribute to an erosion of the gap along the plain between Chichester and Bognor Regis.
“The cumulative result of this is the industrialisation of an area of landscape between Chichester and Bognor,” said councillor Simon Oakley.
“It contributes to the erosion of that particular gap,” he added.
The area for the site is currently classified as a horticultural development area (HDA) in the emerging local plan and is used to grow cereal, potato and salad crops.
North Mundham residents have objected to the site ‘in the strongest possible terms’, saying HDAs are for commercial horticultural development, which this is not.
“The members have voted for the emerging local plan,” said North Mundham district councillor Paul Jarvis on behalf of the residents.
“It’s your words that enforce that this land is to be used for horticultural purposes.
“What’s the point of this plan if we don’t follow and enforce them?”
However, the scheme got the go-ahead, with 15 councillors voting for the plan and the only remaining councillor abstaining.
Selsey councillor Fred Robertson questioned whether it was a ‘minefield of personal interests’, as he was in favour of the scheme because of the impact it would have on the roads as laid out in paragraph 8.25 of the council officers’ report,
“I’m swayed by 8.25, which is probably contrary to what I would say if I was in North Mundham,” he said.