An inquiry into plans for 52 acres of glasshouses at Almodington has been adjourned after applicants Madestein stunned objectors by proposing to introduce a new road-widening scheme.
A visit to the proposed glasshouses site at Easton Farm took place on April 16 as part of the inquiry and all evidence was to be summed up two days later.
However because of Madestein’s submission to widen the Almodington Lane/Batchmere Road by the farm on April 17, the inquiry will now be concluded in June.
Andries De Vaal, chairman of the Almodington Association which has fought the glasshouses plans from day one, said: “We were amazed that scheme was allowed to be submitted at such late notice, which resulted in the inquiry being adjourned.”
Before the road scheme was submitted however, Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie raised concerns about the plans.
“I share the concerns of a number of my constituents that this development may be intrusive and inappropriate for the local roads,” he said. “I have not seen convincing cost benefit analysis to show that the economic effect will be positive for the Manhood.”
Mr de Vaal added: “We have fought as hard as we can to protect our environment and defeat this highly inappropriate development.
“Three parish councils, our district council and, most recently, our MP, Andrew Tyrie, have all declared their support for our campaign to stop a sea of glass covering an increasingly large part of the Manhood Peninsula.”
The planning inquiry was launched after Madestein appealed against Chichester District Council’s refusal to grant the plans planning permission.
Twelve days of the inquiry had been held before the postponement.
A new date will be set for the inspector to hear the objectors’ comments and expert witnesses, and for all of the inquiry to be summed up. Once the inquiry is complete it will take several weeks for the inspector to come to a decision.
Madestein wants to grow lettuces at Easton Farm, in Almodington Lane. It has grown lettuces for supermarkets at Vinnetrow Road in Runcton for 27 years. A spokesman for Madestein declined to comment.